I’ve just come back from an amazing Greenbelt festival, challenged by ideas about the environmental crisis we are facing, motivated by the joy we can find with others and energised by possibility that we can always act. It also didn’t hurt that it was a sunny scorcher of a weekend!
In fact, for me this summer has been full of sun, joy and reflection, but now it’s nearly over. And as if on cue, this week’s news of the suspension of parliament has sort of challenged and confirmed some of my summer reflections at the same time.
Now whilst this is not an overtly political blog, there are some things underpinning our reaction to events like this announcement which are wholly to do with our wellbeing. This set’s us up nicely for the final of our summer series of blogs; 'Cause you were mine for the summer. Now we know it's nearly over from Summer Love by One Direction.
As we begin to return to the usual routines of September, holidays gone, kids back to school, it’s easy to feel constrained by the daily routines. We may feel like we’ve had a rest and now it fades into the background. Perhaps we may feel like our dreams and ideals which we might have mulled over when sitting at the pool become distant memories, unreachable goals. That our life and choices are no longer under our own control.
The song emphasises the inverted romanticism of this:
Can't believe you're packing your bags. Trying so hard not to cry. Had the best time and now it's the worst time, but we have to say goodbye. Don't promise that you're gonna write. Don't promise that you'll call. Just promise that you won't forget we had it all, cause you were mine for the summer.
When we are relaxing in the sun our dreams can almost become tangible, yet when faced with the pressures of daily life they often revert to nothing more than distant aspirations. We become disabled by the responsibility, structure and pressure of the daily routine. But how much of this is our own romanticism of our ideals, that things need to be perfect for us to make the changes we want to create the life we would like?
The song’s romanticism perhaps ignores the reality of what was experienced in the relationship sung about. There must have been difficult parts too, yet they are ignored, written out of the memory. In doing this, and then comparing with our perceived experience of the present, it is easy to allow our circumstances to prevent action, a sort of de-romanticism of the present in comparison with the circumstances we feel we need to thrive. An attitude which says the summer is over, face reality, there is nothing you can do.
But how real is this? For me, when listening to the announcement that parliament would be suspended, it was easy to feel that this prevents them from hearing my voice through the scrutiny of my locally elected MP. But it doesn’t prevent me from expressing my views through taking alternative forms of action. Even if my MP can’t sit in parliament and express an opinion, I can still make my voice heard. It just takes a little more effort and commitment on my part.
Similarly, whilst September may provide us with less time as we return to the usual routines, it shouldn’t prevent us from finding alternative ways we may be able to pursue our dreams. As we seek these means of expression, we may just begin to realise that it’s not so much our circumstances or the actions of others that are preventing us from being happy, but our lack of responsibility to make the choices we can make.
Need to feel more liberation in your life? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood.
Taken from the album:
Photo by Hugo Sousa on Unsplash