For the last six years, August stressed me out. Everyone would go on vacation, and I had ironclad, impossible, deadlines for September first. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it by working ahead, every year, it would happen again.
THE deadline. A very public one. The one that I’d be judged for but had very little control over setting. AUGUST loomed over spring and towered over summer.
We’d get all these gauzy emails from corporate in August saying that they hoped that we’d get time to spend with our families and to just slow down and enjoy life. Summer is so very short, they would say. It took all of my manners not to reply.
Meanwhile, every August, I’d be waking up at the crack of dawn to open my laptop. I closed it when I started speaking gibberish out loud to myself and Ollie would look at me funny. Dishes piled in the sink and takeout containers filled the fridge. My hair looked weird. The days would all blend together in an endless sea of heat and exhaustion.
It worked, most of the time—I perfected the art of cramming as a student, and the rush could prove as exhilarating as it was stupefying. I can be so incredibly productive when faced with the impossible.
At the end of August, however, I would collapse in a corner, a pile of goo and rage and dirty laundry. I said terrible things. One time I told a beach attendant to go fuck herself over Labor Day Weekend. I’d cry, too, wracking sobs, convinced that I would fail and that everything would be my fault, despite all of my effort.
Last year I worked four days of the first vacation I’d been able to take all year in order to help address an issue beyond my control that extended the deadline into September.
After August, most years it took me until January to fully recover, only to have to start the cycle all over again. This year will be different. I can feel it. I would say to myself. I’ll get to enjoy August.
This year, August is different.
Catch all the Sundry Wonders posts, and let me know what you experienced on your walks in the comments below!