By Anne T. Donahue
With the arrival of Labor Day weekend, one extremely obvious fact has presented itself: we have officially dragged ourselves through summer 2020. You are here now. You did it. I am here too, but this isn’t about me. This is your achievement to behold, so let’s get it underway.
I mean, to start, it’s not like autumn is going to be any easier. It’d be obscene if I tried to argue that any and all pain and suffering had passed, and that the rest of 2020 would be a celebratory cakewalk. Absolutely nothing that made summer 2020 so memorable, upsetting, or traumatizing has been resolved, and a change of seasons certainly don’t absolve us all of, say, systemic racism, the pitfalls of capitalism, or a raging pandemic. But you know that already. (I’m just reminding everyone.) The end of summer doesn’t signal a graduation to something better, it merely signals the passage of time.
But time is a gift. A gift! It signals personal progress (read: you’re moving through the world, and I love to see it). It’s a way to measure what you’ve learned versus what you knew before. It’s a chance to look at who you used to be and see how that person stacks up now. Time affords us the space to grow and change and then subsequently evaluate what work we have left to do (because there will always be work to do). It’s part of the fuel for us to keep going.
Which is exactly what priority one is come autumn. The workload has increased (especially if you have kids and are trying to figure out whether or not they’re going to head back to in-class school), the American election is looming, and there’s still the complete overhauling of our current system ahead of us that will necessitate a lot of willingness to learn and to openly and actively contribute and to listen and to step up and have the backs of the persons you’re advocating for. (This isn’t “posts a black square on Instagram” season, it’s “call your reps, open your purse, elevate Black voices, and challenge shitty opinions” season. Among other things.) Fall 2020 is going to require commitment to many things, but real progress isn’t the result of a single season, anyway. It’s one square in a very large quilt.
And this is especially true when you look at summer. You spent a freakish amount of time spent indoors or with roughly five people on your best and busiest day. You wore masks during humidex warnings. You kept your eyes glued to the news, even if you couldn’t take anymore nonsense announcements. And you got through that shit. And that’s a huge deal. And now we’re onto the next.
So do something this Labour Day that makes you feel like a person. Buy a thing. Sit in the grass. Binge the most dramatic HBO series you can find, and refuse to come out of your home because how dare anyone even ask. Consume only chips for three days. Mark the end of seasons as you see fit, using the extra day to say “Oh hell yes – I did it” before strolling out of summertime and into a moment that will feel very much the same, but desperately needs you.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!