One of the days I dread every year arrived on Sunday. I knew it was coming. In fact, earlier in the week, I had said that Sunday would be the day this year. And I was right.

I opened up the Sunday paper and what did I find in the circulars?

IMG_0058Yup. The first “Back to School” sales ads. Oy.

The appearance of these things means just one thing: summer is on the wane.

“But, Chip, it’s the middle of July,” you say. “Summer still has a couple of months to go.”

Technically true. But let’s face it: after the 4th of July, summer starts the downhill slide into autumn. Most of the real fun of summer is front loaded into the first half. The second half is kinda dreary as it comes to its end.

Don’t believe me? What happens in the first half of summer? The end of the school year, graduations, gay pride events, summer blockbuster movie openings, Memorial Day weekend, the start of beach season, and the 4th of July.

What happens in the second half of summer? Back to school sales, the actual start of the school year, and Labor Day. Not to mention oppressive heat and humidity. PAR-TAY!

As you can see, I love the start of summer. In fact, the stretch from early April until July 4 is one of my favorite times of the year. Throw in all of the events listed above along with warmer temperatures and longer days and I’m downright giddy.

But the second half of summer? Blah. I’m over it. Miserably hot, shortening days, no holidays, big events few and far between, and the realization that fall and winter are on their way. For me, it is and always has been a fairly down time of year, much like winter after the holidays.

But there’s one big difference when it comes to the blah months of winter and summer: I’m actively rooting for winter to end; I don’t do that in summer.

It may sound weird, but, even though I hate this time of year, I don’t really want it to end. I find the end of summer to really be a sad moment and I don’t wish for its arrival any sooner than necessary. I don’t want the days of t-shirts, shorts and flip flops to end.

My therapist says this is partly a holdover from school days when I was dreading the start of a new school year. That’s probably very true. Until I got to college, I hated the start of school. In college, I couldn’t WAIT for the start of the new school year.

So why do I still get this way on July 5? I’m really not sure. Maybe the arrival of July brings home the fact that the year has reached its halfway point and that time is moving faster and faster. Maybe its because I love big events and holidays and there aren’t any in the second half of summer. Maybe its the oppressive weather that keeps you trapped inside to be comfortable.

I honestly don’t know. But I do know that this has happened every year of my life that I can remember.

The good news is that it does go away after Labor Day, almost like someone hits a switch. I quickly make the transition to fall and think about the fun of autumn and the holidays.

I probably need to make more of an effort to make the second half of summer special in some way, either through travel or some other method. But it’ll have to be something really, really good to match the fun of the first half.