A Friendly Reminder That Your Summer Is Half Over


My dad mentioned to me the other day that this was the first year he’d ever used up his entire five weeks of paid vacation. I told him that was a good sign he was living right.

It’s good to conserve some things, like water, energy, and gasoline, but vacation time is not one of them. You are not rewarded with interest over time on vacation days you saved until the end of the year. Come November, you will still be able to use those vacation days, but it will be colder and darker. Basically, you can use that vacation day, but if you’re not skiing, you will probably end up reorganizing your closet or fixing other stuff around your house—which is just like work, but it’s at your home.

If you have not looked out your window in the past few hours or days, please do, and recognize that summer is now. But it is fleeting.

Today, the sun will set around 8:30 or 9 p.m., depending where you live. The first week of November, it will set when you’re still inside your office, and it will continue to do that for almost three months.

If you’re a teacher or student, you have a few more weeks during which you can spend an entire weekday riding your bike, climbing rocks, or splashing around in a swimming hole or alpine lake.

In a few months, you will not be driving down the highway with the music up and your arm out the window surfing the wind with your fingertips.

You will not be able to squeeze in a trail run or bike ride between dinner and sunset. Once winter starts to creep in, you will not be able to bag peaks in a pair of running shoes, with only a light pack on your back. Your dog will be significantly less interested in splashing around in mountain streams.

Men and women will appear in public with a fraction of the exposed flesh that you currently see. You will likely not see shirtless dudes and shirtless ladies climbing at your local crag. People who run and train half-naked at your local park will exercise bundled up like Randy from A Christmas Story, and you’ll miss summer.

You will have plenty of time to sleep in when the heavy hand of Daylight Saving Time drops on November 3.

Yes, I am aware of skiing. Please focus.

Now is the time to bail out of work at 4 p.m., or 3 p.m., and head to your favorite crag, trail, or hill climb. Or get up at 5 a.m. and do something fun before you head into the office. You can Tivo all those shows or baseball games or whatever it is on TV tonight. You cannot Tivo summer sunsets, riding your bike around city streets in the dark, eating ice cream cones on park benches, and your dog’s relentless enthusiasm for fetching that ball no matter how many times you throw it.

It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? Maybe you should get out there. You only get so many of these, you know. Beautiful days, that is.


41 replies on “A Friendly Reminder That Your Summer Is Half Over

  • Megan

    Thank you for this reminder, Brendan! Somehow I always seem to get to this point in the summer and realize my list of things I want to do during the season and the time (and money) left does not match up. But you are absolutely right that this is the best time of year to use vacation. Hope you are well!

  • Seth

    Thanks for the reminder … I was already starting to plan my skiing trips, but I really should work out a couple more backpacking trips before September ends.

    • Kathryn King

      I love that you started this comment with “Dude” (Semi-Rad’s December 8, 2011 blogpost). Excellent.

      Plus, I’m with you on THE DAYLIGHT.


      Kathryn King (a Maine schoolteacher who loves summer vacation for all kinds of reasons, including but not limited to THE DAYLIGHT)

  • Hayden

    Here in new england the days get shorter, the tourists go home, and hurricane season starts pushing swell up the coast. I love summer but that doesn’t mean part of me isn’t stoked for autumn.

  • Joe

    I love winter, but it’s pretty much headlamp season for me as it seems I’m always out after dark. I’m enjoying summer while it lasts. I even try to get out on the rainy days.

    Joe in Iowa

  • Dan

    Bah. You can have your hot, sticky, buggy, humid, crowded summer days…I am anxiously awaiting the winter, when everyone else stays inside, and I get the lakes, trails, & rivers mostly to myself.

    • Curt

      I agree! I appreciate every season. But There is something about fall and winter when most others are sulking in their living rooms wondering what to do, and I am outside enjoying the snow with a wonderful playground all to myself.

  • George

    If you can do all this awesome stuff in the Summer before or after work or by only taking an hour or two off of your workday shouldn’t you save those vacation days for the Winter when you can’t easily do that? And take full weeks of time off to enjoy the outside and all of the winter activities, or if summer is your thing, go somewhere summery. Just sayin…

  • Simone

    Brendan, where was your cover photo taken? And thanks for the reminder, the summer semester blues were getting me down : )

  • SB

    Today’s astronomical data at 59 North Latitude
    Sunset: 10:30
    Sunrise: 4:47

    Hell yeah! The only problem is that due to the limited hours of dusk, alcohol consumption is reduced due to activity…..I’ll correct that in the winter work days!

  • AaronF

    When you finish reading this post & the first thing you think of is “meh, I really like winter” then YOU TOTALLY MISSED THE POINT.

    The shirt that says “Those that die with the most toys wins” doesn’t really carry the same meaning as “Those that die with the most sick days wins”.

    This isn’t a comparisson post, it’s a reminder to get the hell out of your office/house and live a little.

  • Abomb

    I think you’re forgetting about those of us that live in the beautiful southwest, especially Arizona. Winter is the time to recreate down here. But I get your point…

  • jesski

    “Yes I’m aware of skiing. Please focus.”

    I don’t think you *are* aware. Because if you were aware, you would understand why it’s just not possible to focus on this right now.

    Because, in winter… there. will. be. skiing.

    When you find a summer activity that comes close to that very specific and excellent feeling you get from a full face of perfect-density blower, then that sentence will be justified.

    Until then, I stubbornly continue to remain unfocused, jittery and a little bit crazed. GAH!

  • Eric

    Thanks for putting it all in perspective. Life has been getting in the way of life and this is a good reminder to just take advantage regardless of what you do. Thanks

  • Klaus

    You cannot Tivo summer sunsets…

    Well said sir.

    Being an immigrant in this country, celebrating my five year anniversary in November of having moved to California, I am amazed how little vacation people take.

    For someone from Europe, this is even harder to grasp because you have fewer vacay days here to begin with.

    And people don’t take it. Why, oh God, why?

    Where I work, the employer offers loyal employees a “sabbatical” after every five years of service. They grant four continuous weeks (in addition to any PTO) to do whatever the employee wants.

    And now comes the kicker: I have met several folks at work who don’t freakin’ know what to do with their four weeks!. It’s bizarre, just bizarre.

  • adam

    Great timing on the skiing comment! I was just thinking: whats so wrong with November? when you dropped that hammer. Well done!

  • adam

    Great timing on the skiing comment! I was just thinking: whats so wrong with November? when you dropped that hammer. Well done!

  • Ed

    I started reading this, then realized I should stop and go outside immediately. So I did.

    Then, after spending a few hours fishing, I came home to finish reading.

    Nice work Brendan.

  • Eric O'Rafferty

    An excellent reminder to connect with the spirit of the present. You can pine away for the past and/or the future, but you’re just wasting the time now that you can spend engaging in the most excellent activity of your choice. Thanks Brendan!

  • Eric O'Rafferty

    > You will likely not see… shirtless ladies climbing at your local crag.

    I think I need to find your local crag! Ha ha!

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