Hey, Who turned off all
the crickets? I’m not ready
for summer to end.
– Guyku by Bob Raczka – Peter Reynolds
I thought I’d start of this entry with this wonderful image and Haiku I came across that made me remember special moments in my own childhood. It is also currently the right time of year for an image like this as children everywhere are headed back to school.
The end of summer was always a pretty depressing time as freedom and endless playtime were soon to come to an abrupt end. As the start date comes closer the dread increases and a childhood version of clinical depression sets in. The only reprieve was the excitement in purchasing new school supplies. I can still remember the smell of a brand new Trapper Keeper in which I would organize my cartoon/action figure themed folders. If I were lucky I’d also have a new pair of shoes and a new backpack!
The end of August was the worst as the weather still felt like summer yet we would all be stuck inside learning new rules, adjusting to new schedules and getting to know a new teacher. Our textbooks were a bit old and I remember looking into them to see which students they had been issued to in previous years. These students were now in the upper grades and I remember being envious that they had already completed the grade I had just started. Each school year when you’re a kid seems like an eternity and knowing that I had to complete a whole year to get to the same level in which they were now made me very sad. I wanted to be them, or at least switch places with them. Each year being an eternity is long enough but in my elementary school was K-8 which meant I had to endure eternity to the 9th degree! It seemed I would be in elementary school for my entire life; there was no way I’d ever see the end of it.
To this day I still cringe when I hear the song Rock Steady by The Whispers. This is the song from my alarm I awoke to on the first day of 4th grade. The song abruptly comes on, I awake and am immediately thrown into the depths of despair and crushing sadness as I realize summer is officially over and that I must get dressed into a navy blue uniform, catch a bus and spend the next 9 months in a classroom.
The picture above reminds me of September which was a time when things got better. By September we were now used to our new schedule, teacher, classroom and rules. The temperature starts to cool, the color of the leaves change and it feels like the time to be in school. It is also soon to be the beginning of holiday season with the trio of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holy grail of Christmas being on the horizon. The classrooms would become decorated with a Fall theme and the depression from the end of summer would become a distant memory.
It is this time, September and October, with the falling of the leaves, a chill in the air and a solid turn of the page into a new chapter of my life. Here in California we do not have the four seasons. Everyday is another 60 degrees, another sunny day. One would think this weather would bring contentment and joy; but when I see the picture above the absence of seasons seems more like a purgatory, an eternal groundhog day, with each passing day being the same as the next. To add to this, my life does not change as abruptly as it did when I was a kid. With the change in seasons came school and within school new schedules, new teachers, new grade levels! At 38 years old I do pretty much the same thing – even with different companies – everyday, all year long. Yes, the holidays come and they are exciting but without the change of seasons they don’t feel the same.
There is no Autumn chill, no leaves changing color for Halloween and Thanksgiving. There is no snow in sight for Christmas thus no jackets or mittens, no snowball fights, no cozying up to a fireplace to warm up a cold body. No, it seems pretty much the same as any other time of the year except that the decorations are different.
So when I saw the image at the top of this post , it brought back some great memories; it conjured up memories of an excitement that only exists in childhood and as adults we’ll never feel again.
I stare at this picture and I miss being a kid. These past few weeks have been filled with typical work anxiety we all have that increases and lessens like the tide throughout the year. This anxiety isn’t as intense as going back to school as a kid – that anxiety is pretty bad but relatively brief. The work anxiety I feel at 38 is more like a low infinite hum. It is always there and can be ignored but increases in pitch from time to time and can never be turned off. I need to work to earn money, I need money to provide for my family and it will only end if/when I have enough money that I no longer need to work.
They say you never have to work if you can do what you love. I think that is true but that only 2% of the population actually find/create a job like that. When business people say they have a “passion” for their work 98% of them are lying or have deluded themselves. In the business world people need to conform and have been conditioned to say they are passionate about whatever it is they happen to sell. I once had a representative from a paper company tell me he was passionate about selling paper, including toilet paper. Doing something you love for work that actually provides ample amounts of money is as rare as catching a glimpse of an Arctic Fox. Those that say otherwise are trying to sell their motivational/inspirational course to you, most likely through an infomercial.
But, to get back on point, I would really like to be sitting on a swing, feeling a chill in the air as I admire the beautiful reds and yellows of the changing leaves. I’d love to paint that scene.
It looks like I’ve found something I’m passionate about. Now I just need to learn how to paint; and have people buy my paintings for a few grand a piece.