Real vs. perceived endings

Labor Day, the autumn equinox, and summer being “over”

It’s funny to me how we sometimes put arbitrary, artificial endings on things. And then get sad about them ending.

Labor Day weekend being perhaps my favorite example.

People always consider Labor Day to be the end of summer, when technically summer runs for a few more weeks, nearly through the end of Sept.

Maybe it came from our childhood days of going back to school — or sending our kids back now.

My manager at the bar — real talk — started talking about “summer being over” just after the Fourth of July (which, as we all know, is like peak summer. And also, technically, only like two weeks in, because summer solstice is late June.)

And maybe it’s a bit because he has to think about inventory and ordering.

But I doubt it. Because customers also started asking about pumpkin beer in, like, early August.

The real odd part isn’t that we end things before they’ve ending, but that we layer on the sadness to them.

I mean, in the south, there was an air of “oh my gosh, it’s soo humid — I’m ready for fall!” But there was also an air of “hello darkness, my old friend.”

And to be fair, summer — oddly enough — does seem to end earlier in the south than it did in the midwest. At least, this fall — my first here — seems to have come faster than any year I was in the midwest.

I could say a lot about endings that go the other way — things we miss; things we think are still ongoing but ended long ago. Things we drag out beyond their actual end.

In all reality, that is far more common. And far more sad.

So I guess the real message here is mindfulness.

Something like emotional grace. Something like approaching our days and our lives and the seasons — and other people, and love, with tenderness, and allowing them to move slowly from one phase to the next. Without rushing. Without arbitrary end dates or pre-mature expectations. And without dragging them out.

Approaching everything in life — from seasons to significant others — with enough compassion to let them evolve, and do so at their actual rather than anticipated pace.

Appreciating things beyond our perceived end date.

Accepting once things have changed into something else.

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