“Summer flew by so fast.”
You hear that every August – and there are reasons why it feels that way.
— For openers, most families define summer by the school calendar. Since school often ends in mid-June and begins in early September or late August, that’s a total of 11 or 12 weeks. And that’s shorter than what a season should be, 13 weeks.
— Since many students are involved in sports or the marching band, their summer is even shorter, as practice typically begins two weeks before school classes resume. That, in turn, whacks summer to perhaps nine or 10 weeks in length.
— Even empty nesters continue to define summer by the school calendar. It’s just in our DNA. When we see school buses and more cars on the highways and more bustle in the community in late August, it signals an end to summer.
— We compare summer to the entire rest of the year. In other words, we muddle through nine or 10 months (many with bad weather) just to enjoy two or three months of great weather. No wonder it seems to go by so fast when you compare it to the suffering from September to May.
— Rainy/cold weather is a factor. This June at Lehigh Valley International Airport, for example, was one of the top five wettest on record. The bad weather prevented people from enjoying outdoor activities such as cookouts, walking and swimming. The effect is that we felt cheated out of the first couple or so weeks of summer, making it seem even shorter.
— Vacation time influences our perception of the length of summer. If, for example, you did not take a significant vacation (one week or longer), you might feel as if summer never really happened. Without a signature event to enjoy, you’ll look up in mid-August and wonder what the heck happened to your summer.
— Of course, always remember to blame the marketers, too. We start to see back-to-school print ads and television commercials in late July. Their unintended message is that summer is almost over – when, in fact, it is not. Yet we begin to feel that summer is about to end.