August consists of a long, long list of plans I do not look forward to. Busy season at work. Preparation of lecture and quizzes for the teaching job I do not really like, but feel guilty about leaving, because the Department Head let me audit another course for free to prep for a certification exam1. Social obligations which were not my idea and which I am not happy about, but must pretend to be. The High Holidays are coming up. I must plan, not just as an individual, but as a member of the congregation board organizing High Holiday services for the congregation. Under the layers of obligations, my mind sweats as much as my body as I sink resignedly into the Louisiana swamp that is August.
I feel the urgency of an ending summer. Emails from retailers to shop “fun in the sun” before “back to school” season. Coworkers can’t book vacations fast enough, slipping in PTO requests before the end of August, before the Delta variant results in travel bans. If you’re too slow, you’ll miss out and have to provide coverage. My congregation has the tradition to appoint someone to send out daily spiritual inspirational emails in the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year); it has the effect of filling my inbox with emails that leave me feeling that I must add spiritual self-improvement to the growing list of tasks. I will be leyning (chanting the Torah reading) and giving a short sermon to the congregation, but the emails have me feeling like this is not “enough”. The shaming, from retailers, coworkers, and congregants alike, is all manufactured, but it is effective.
I come across a week-long women’s-only retreat with one spot left to a country still accepting visitors. It is reckless. Irresponsible. Expensive. Selfish. I will pay for it in all-nighters to make up my workload, and in long–overdue marriage counseling sessions, which we are [finally] about to begin. Still, I cannot help but see it as a rope or a ladder out of the muck.
August fucking sucks.
I am done with this bullshit.
Booking my ticket.
1which I failed, btw. In my defense, instead of studying, I was interviewing for jobs and it was Passover – another crappy season.