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An article in today's paper (originally from the London Telegraph) asks "Can summer make you sad?"

Hmmm. Well, I guess any season you don't like much can make you sad. Isn't it enough that we already have Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter months, spring fever in the spring, and... what is it we get in fall - dread of returning to routines and punching a time clock?

Anyway, the article seems to attribute summerphobia (and my less-than-helpful spell-checker seems to have a phobia of the word itself) to a fear of abandonment (when friends head off on vacation), a lack of structure - activities shut down for the summer - and a general need to be busy.

I have to say that the things I dislike about summer are almost the opposite to what this article describes. As a retired person, I relish the fact that my time is essentially my own. I generally prefer to do things when not everyone else is doing them. I'm a bit of a loner and don't cope well with crowds. I have a number of personal projects I'd like to get down to when I have a few uninterrupted hours - or better yet a day or two or three - on end. Some of these are things I'd like to do (in some cases to get them done, in other cases for the pure joy of it) at home; others involve exploring other places (both nearby and more far-flung) on my own. No expectation that I'll be home by a certain time for lunch or whatever.

And yet, I don't live alone. I'm not even sure if I would want to at this stage - certainly I'm aware that those who live alone can be more vulnerable as they get older. I'm not a total hermit - I do like to get out and see friends and family sometimes. But I value opportunities for solitude too.

Virginia Woolf wrote eloquently about a room of one's own. Maybe I just need a woman-cave. I like to think things through and daydream a bit. I like having the luxury of not needing to multitask but rather to just focus on one thing. But unfortunately that's not really the way of the world these days. Murray McLauchlan asked "Where's those quiet places to come home to?" Or, for that matter, to go out to?



October 2017


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