Today is the day I turn another year older.
Having a birthday on Aug. 31, the last day of August, has certainly had its pros and cons over the years. My birthday today is different from all other birthdays in two important ways. It is my first birthday living away from home and my first birthday without any type of attachment to school.
Birthdays have always been exciting for me and I’ve always had fun with my family and friends, usually doing an activity and having supper. Supper options have included a wiener roast, a special homemade meal or going out to a restaurant. In 2010, I spent my actual birthday in New York City with my parents and my sister and when we got back, I got together with friends to celebrate again.
But trust me, not all of my birthdays were as grand as hanging out in the Big Apple. In fact, there have been two things that have always irritated me in regards to the timing of my birthday — people saying it is the end of the summer heat and going back to school.
Summer has probably been my favourite season for as long as I can remember. I love the heat. I love being able to be outside without layers. I love jumping into a lake, a pool or running through sprinklers to cool off.
But despite what lots of people seem to say or think, my birthday is not on the last day of summer or just before the end of summer. Especially in recent years, September has been just as hot or hotter than August and has definitely earned the title of being a part of summer.
Even according to the calendars, the first day of autumn is not until Sept. 22, but even then temperatures are often still summer-like. It’s not really until October that the true fall-like weather tends to set in.
Yes, the sun rises later and sets sooner now than it did in July. But during the day hours, it is still summer. Don’t waste time and energy thinking about how soon summer is going away. You could spend that time enjoying the summer weather you can, which September usually brings.
As for the second issue, it ties in with the first in that many people tend to associate the end of summer with the beginning of school. As much as I don’t like it, I can’t refute that my birthday is close to the beginning of another school year.
My dislike is easily demonstrated. For instance, I’ll never forget the first day of my Grade 9 year. My first day of high school at a new school was on my birthday. My parents offered to take my sister, a friend and I out to lunch. We ordered and sat waiting for our food. And we waited, mentioning we were on a time limit. And we waited some more. Our food came so late that we had to eat insanely fast and rush back to school. It was only a small comfort that our food was given to us for free because of the delay.
However, my troubles didn’t end there. When I got back to school, I went to my locker to retrieve my books. My locker got stuck and wouldn’t open. Because of this, I missed my call to get my photo taken for picture day and was forced to go later. That was my first day of high school and my birthday for that year.
Except this year, my birthday has been attached to school since I began school. Even though last year my birthday was just before I started my internship for the University of Regina School of Journalism at the Regina Leader-Post, it technically still counts as school because I had to pay tuition on my internship and I got credit for it.
This year, I have to work on my birthday also for the first time not counting school. But that’s just it. I have no school to go back to this year. It’s nice not to have that attached to the day of my birth. It feels like some sort of weight has been lifted in a way. Now if only people would stop referring to the time surrounding my birthday as the end of summer.
Summer shouldn’t be defined by when school starts again or by when we have to get back into our routines. If that’s your definition, then I suppose you’re going to think my birthday is near the end of summer.
On the dictionary on my Mac computer at work, summer has two definitions. Firstly, it is defined as “the warmest season of the year.” (I realize it goes on to add from June to August.
Maybe that’s how it used to be, but the climate has shifted to make September hot. Look at last September).
The second definition is in astronomy. It is defined as “the period from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox.” Even if you take this definition, summer would still apply until Sept. 22.
I believe summer is defined by the temperature outside and how hot it gets. My birthday is still in summer. When tomorrow comes, I truly believe it’ll be summer for a good chunk of September as well. We just need to take advantage of it.