As August has struck, I find myself bewildered by the swift passage of this summer break. It slipped away like a 100-yard dash, over before I knew it had begun. The contrasting emotions of the last day of school in May and the first day of school in August create a tug-of-war within me – elation versus deflation. Strange, isn’t it? While I truly love my job, just three months ago, I expressed the same sentiment in anticipation of the break. Yet, it seems the break is anything but a break for me.
As soon as the school year ended in May, I enthusiastically compiled a to-do list for the summer, filled with personal, business, and fun tasks. I checked off some items but, like a relentless wave, more tasks kept adding themselves to the list. I confess it’s my own doing, for I’m not one to lounge on the beach or indulge in sightseeing. Last year, I surprised my family with a spontaneous trip to Branson, Missouri, and even embarked on a business trip to Portland, Oregon. However, this year, I was content staying put at home. While my wife and youngest daughter ventured to New York to visit family and attend the Alicia Keys concert, I remained behind, trying to make a dent in my ever-expanding list.
Around seven or eight years ago, I adopted a summer ritual of binge-watching one or two television series. It began with Downton Abbey, a show that didn’t initially capture my interest, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The following year, I ventured into uncharted territory again with This is Us. Though it didn’t seem like my kind of program, my wife’s praise for it led me to give it a chance. Before I knew it, I had binged the first and part of the second seasons, eagerly catching up to watch the rest of the series together with her each week. Every episode became a shared experience.
Since then, I’ve delved into the vast expanse of the Star Wars franchise, caught up on shows like Superstore and Abbott Elementary, and this year, I was mesmerized with Snowfall and Ted Lasso. All the while, I juggled these viewing pleasures with ticking off tasks from my ever-expanding to-do list.
These days, time seems to sprint like a cheetah, unlike my childhood days when it sauntered like a leisurely stroll. Back then, a day felt like a generous 26 hours, a week stretched to nine days, and a summer break spanned a seemingly endless three months. Now, I can’t help but wonder if something has tampered with the science of our 24-hour day. Could it be that global warming has disrupted time’s flow? Is the world closing in on us with each fleeting second? And perhaps, just perhaps, we ought to consider adding more time to our days. For it feels as though time is slipping away from us, so why shouldn’t we aspire for time to feel like it’s being granted to us in abundance?
Only in our dreams.