Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer's almost over, and I'm totally bummed! What should I do?

Dear HTT,

I want to write to you for advice but not sure about how to disguise myself. You would know from my email address who I might be.

I thought it would be a good place to put a comment on your vacation pictures and pose my dilemma.

I am in a panic about summer ending. I have to say that it’s been a blast and I am afraid that the good times will end. And I don't want to wait another 10 months for summer to start again.

What advice can you give me to keep the good times rolling???

PS: Football season does start in a few weeks so there is some light on my horizon.

Party Girl

Dear Party Girl,

First, thanks for your ingenuity…posting your question in the comments section is a great way to disguise yourself! The rest of you anonymity-challenged readers/would-be letter writers should take note.

Now, on to your dilemma. I’m not sure how old you are or where you live. If summer’s end means back to school (or work, if you’re a teacher), I can imagine falling into a funk this time of year. Or, if your main form of fun involves a beach and a bottle of pina-colada-scented tanning oil, maybe the passing of 90-degree days is cause for mourning. Or, if you reside in a state that might see snow in a few weeks, I guess I can imagine bumming out as August slips by.

But for me, the end of August is cause for celebration. Soon the high temperature will dip below 99! Being outdoors will become a pleasure and not just a test of endurance. I might be able to take my hair out of a ponytail, once even the thought of a few strands on my neck doesn’t make me sweat. Before too long, we’ll be enjoying a little nip in the air, some mulled cider, bulky sweaters, and an energetic spring in the steps of our stylishly boot-clad feet.

Honestly, if you work year-round, I don’t see why summer holds any more party promise than the rest of the year. All right, maybe pool parties will drop off the calendar for a while, but what else can’t you do in the fall that you can do in the summer? Where I live, fall’s a nicer time of year for a cookout, a picnic, drinks on a bar patio, a bike ride, a hike, a road trip, a street fair, a wedding, most vacations, a walk on the beach, a party on the porch, a stroll around Duke Gardens, a trip to the farmer’s market, hand-holding (fewer sweaty palms), dressing up, gardening, dancing, exploring new places, oh, I could go on and on.

But, o.k., I’ll assume that the passing of summer is, for you, reason to despair, whether it marks the end of aimless days of pleasure or the beginning of an early and long, dreary winter. I guess the closest parallel from my own life that I can draw on to feel what you might be feeling is the end of a fantastic vacation. (And you posted near my vacation pictures, so you know how depressed I can get when I return from a great trip.) This is what I do when vacation ends: I start planning another one. Not just dreaming. Planning. I need some concrete fun to look forward to. If you know me at all, you’ve probably heard me say, at least once, “In order to be happy in life, one must always be on vacation or planning one.”

So, Party Girl, start cooking up some fun for the fall and winter. Sure, if you’ve had the luxury of partying every night over the summer, you’re going to have to make do with less. And certainly, unlike a vacation, you can’t just plan to have summer again in a few months. (Although if it’s beach weather you’ll crave, remember it’s always hot somewhere in the world.) Think about the kinds of events that will add joy to your life this fall and winter and make real plans to do them. Get other people on board. I know for some people lack of spontaneity is a buzz kill, but even a few exciting, sure-to-happen events on your calendar can make the end of summer (for you) or vacation (for me) easier to bear.

Party on, my anonymous friend!


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