End-of-Summer Blues

August 17, 2007 at 1:48 pm Leave a comment

I feel as if I’ve spent my life adjusting and un-adjusting to the academic schedule.

I grew up the child of academics, so our calendar was set to the school year since before I can remember. Then, of course, I went to school. For 18 years. Then I graduated from college and spent six years trying to become a “regular person” (as ole Bill Cosby used to say) and shake the feeling that I should be on vacation in July and over New Year’s. Couldn’t really do it, and went to grad school for four years (ah, sweet summer lull).

Then got a real job again, but at a university, so I still felt the ebb and flow of each quarter beginning and ending (but admittedly resented the fact that only we lowly university staff had to work when campus was clsoed!). Now, I’m married to a teacher. And, since I work at home, as mom, as writer, as partner-in-crime in said teacher-husband’s teacher side business, that school year schedule runs my life once again.

And, next week, summer is over. To say I’m mourning summer is a bit of an understatement. Especially because neither of us actually feels relaxed. A summer of intense work, for his business and mine. A summer of sleep deprivation, as darling toddler daughter is simply not the slumbering kind. A summer of health scares for various family members. A summer of too much money spent on dental bills, car repairs, and home improvements. A summer where we did not go to the beach as a family until a month in (and the beach is three miles down the road). What happened to our summer?!

Still, in keeping with the concept of redefining success, for me, the fact that I am on the academic calendar and mourning the end of summer vacation (while at the same time looking forward to getting some kind of routine again, if only to get organized enough to answer my emails regularly again) actually feels just right.

I used to joke that I would have to become and/or marry a teacher, because I wouldn’t understand a life with only two weeks vacation a year. And, it’s actually true. Of course, as an academic sort, I roll my eyes at people who think teachers and professors don’t work during the summers; any academic sort knows better than that.

But, no matter, even though we work, and even if some summers leave us at their close more tired than when they began, the fact that summer means something, and fall means new classes and schedules and outfits, is somehow wired into my personal definition of a life that fits. I’m tired, I’m disorganized, I’m grumpy and slightly terrified at the thought of taking care of our 18-month-old by myself all day again starting next week. But, at least I still had a summer to mourn. And I will next year, too.

(By the way, even if you’re not an academic sort, you can fight for more than the sorry two weeks vacation standard in the United States. Check out Take Back Your Time’s lobby for a three-week minimum vacation for all U.S. workers!)

Happy (or grumpy) summer’s end to you…

Entry filed under: Education, Having It All.

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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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