August and I don’t get along. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreaded turning the calendar after July 31. I get the ‘blahs.’ I feel sad and lonely. Year after year it’s always the same . . . I just don’t like the month of August. The person who journeys through the month of August is a sadder version of myself. I equate it with those individuals who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter months.It may have to do with my body’s biorhythms and that I’m just naturally in a period of ‘lowness’ during this time every year. I want the days to hurry along to September when activities begin again and I see those who I’ve missed over the summer and football games are on and cooler temperatures usher in and leaves are changing.
Why August? What is it about August that turns me into a grumpy puss? At the start of the summer, I am ready for a break. It feels good to rest and take time for me. But, by August, I’m eager for my busy routine to begin and I look forward to those weekly interactions with so many special groups of people in my life. Aside from my assumption that this is just my own body’s natural ‘low time’ of the year, I’ve reflected on some additional conclusions of why the other 11 months of the year rank higher than this month:
- I’m feeling the burn-out of going through a very hectic few months at work.
- I yearn for my extracurricular activities that go on hiatus in the summer.
- I miss consistent interactions with church and social groups.
- I don’t feel productive in my personal life.
- Let’s face it, it’s just plain hot outside.
Now, I’m not one to wish time away. I strive very much to live in the present. After all, just like the seasons of our lives, each season on the calendar has ‘a time and purpose under heaven.’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1) So, a couple of years ago, I decided to embrace August, instead of wallowing for the whole month. I use the negative energy and channel it into something positive. Instead of wasting this precious time of year, I’m now more intentional about filling my calendar with summer activities I enjoy, like swimming and bike riding. Joy from my childhood comes through in these activities and I bask in my favorite summertime memories.
A few years ago, I started taking a week of vacation during the month of August. My job keeps me very busy during the summer months, so giving myself permission to be lazy and relax during these summer days does wonders for my soul. Most of my August vacations have sent me out of town for the week, but this year, I’ll be enjoying a ‘staycation.’ Time at home; time with family and friends; time for me. . . . and I can’t wait!
I’m a goal setter and a list maker. I like to be productive; it makes me feel fulfilled. The summer affords me more creative ways of filling my time since my regular weekly obligations are on break until fall. Two Augusts ago, I started the discipline of reading the Bible every day for 90 days. It’s hard to wallow when you’re in the Word everyday. Last August, I focused on home improvements and decorating around the house. Painting, shopping for accessories, and combing the Web for decorating ideas was so enjoyable and gave me an outlet in which to channel my icky feelings.
So, what would August 2013 bring? What project would bring focus and joy? I love to read and many of my fondest memories are wrapped up in books. I remember reading at the pool and reading on my bed as a kid. Visits to the public library were routine for my family and my mom always encouraged my reading choices. I may not have read the classics or the most ‘scholarly’ literature, but I’ve always found great escape and adventure tucked inside the pages of a book.
This August, I’ve decided to re-read my favorite books from my childhood. I made a list, checked some books out of the library, combed my own personal bookshelves, and began this literary journey down memory lane. I’m spending my August with Margaret, Charlotte, Nancy Drew, and the Sweet Valley High Twins. I’m reliving the stories of To Kill a Mockingbird, The Phantom Tollbooth, Of Mice and Men
, and The Great Gatsby
. I’m rediscovering these treasures from my past and receiving tremendous blessings in the process.
I wouldn’t say that I now look forward to my Augusts, but I am thankful for them. I’m grateful for this time set apart when I can focus on something so personal and priceless.
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll