The sound of young voices playing basketball, the shortening of the days that previously never seemed to end, the realization that I have work at 8 am, these are how my summers end. It is a time of mixed feelings for me. I try and convince myself that I am excited. All those days spent skulking around the house with nothing to do seem wasted now and Aall those nights catching up on my favorite cartoons and baseball scores, a fond memory.
I was tempted to have my students write one of the most dreaded essays that any high school student must endure, the dreaded “What I did last summer” essay. It is dreaded because these days what I did during the summer usually involves little more than “I played computer games” and “I chatted on the internet”. The disappointment of not hearing of great hiking adventures, learning some new skill with mom or dad, or endless hours playing with friends and coming back baked in sweat and dirt, would be too much too for me to witness. There was another reason . I did not want to share what I did this summer, namely I killed demons.
At the best of times I am not an easy person to get along with. My sense of adventure rarely keeps me in one place long enough to have a conversation with and when I do stay in one place long enough, I end up talking about depressing things, things that newscasters can’t imagine because they have never seen them. So I made it a point to rebuild many of the bridges I had very carefully and meticously burnt over the past few years. I am doing it because I know the summer of being alive starts to fade away around this age in life and because many of those who I love dearest, and pushed away the hardest, are entering their winter. Unlike the circular calendar that governms our season, the linear calendar that governs our lives has a start and a beginning.
I realized for the first time that people I love so dearly are not going to be around forever, some of them , the terms to be used is “much longer” and so I spent the waning days of summer laughing a little harder. Getting advice from them on my fool hardy ideas and realizing that my adventures that have taken me around the world will soon come to an end because the time with them is more important than yet another old building or famed site.
And seeing this forced me to admit my own mortality. That was the hardest to deal with. I have greatly enjoyed my time as a man-boy. I am the literal embodiment of peter pan. Or I thought I was. This year I realized I am stuck in a generation that is wedged between two immovable objects. A baby boomer generation which can’t move on to retirement and a Gen Y generation that senses blood in the water, and it is my generation's blood. I realize my generation now only exists to hold the place between two other ones.
As my summer ends I try and relish what little of it I can. The fall is a short one, maybe ten years, and already I am unlikely to see a birth of offspring, the success that kept me working hard and sacrificing everything has been for nothing because the competition is younger, more adept and knows the difference between 3G and third generation phones. So I hope to do what I have done for many autumns, enjoy the last walks , enjoy the smells and the colors because soon winter will be upon me and it will be a cold and bitter one.