When August urgency sets in

August Urgency

Another summer is winding down. Temps are cooling off, and daylight hours are noticeably shorter. My dad always keeps track of (and shares) the exact number of minutes lost. But since I love fall, I don’t happen to mind the cooler temps and shorter days.

Update:  Sadly, my dad died in July 2016.

Why do summer months seem to pass more quickly anyway?

There seems to be lots of stuff to hurry up and get done before summer ends. You know, all that stuff on your to do list you haven’t finished (or even started) that at the beginning of summer you thought you had plenty of time to accomplish.

It seems to me, lots of rushing around goes on during August as people try to finish up summer projects, take the last summer vacation, squeeze in that last good read or summer movie, have one more big cook-out or camp-out, shop for school clothes and supplies, get a loved one settled in college, visit grandma or whatever.

There’s so much to get done in August.

August feels like a month of urgency.

And August always seems to go by too quickly. Unless that is, you’re a child starting to count the days until Christmas, as one of my sisters and I did every August while we were growing up. Back then, Christmas felt like an eternity away from August. There were way too many days to mark off on the calendar.

We didn’t think or care the same way about urgency back then. We just wanted those days and months between August and December to go by and go by quickly. They never seemed to.

Time moves more slowly for youth, or so say people who are no longer youthful.

As you get older, time seems to pick up momentum. Adults often claim it would be nice to slow it down a bit.

A certain August that did not go by quickly enough for me was chemo-August.

I wanted that August to end and end quickly. But of course to me, it didn’t seem to.

That was the August of the summer that wasn’t. That was the August when my chemo cocktail switched from Adriamycin (the Red Devil) and Cytoxan to Taxol. That was the August of intense mental haze, extreme fatigue, unbearable mood swings and other various challenges no one really cares to hear about now.

That was the August which lasted an eternity for me and probably for my family as well, as they had to patiently put up with me. It was my family’s chemo-August too.

As this August winds down, I’m grateful to still be NED (no evidence of disease).

However, cancer isn’t over for me and in fact, I see oncologist number four (more on my oncologist saga later) next week for more follow-up. Cancer will never be over for me, but I am coming to be more at peace with this; not with the cancer part, but with the part it will now always be a part of who I am.

Cancer doesn’t define me, but it’s certainly an integral piece of “experience” now listed on my “life’s resume”.

I still have my summer to-do list, with some things checked off, but many more that aren’t.

I still have a college student to get ready and off. I still have a visit to grandpa’s house to make. I still have a pile of books to finish reading. I still have a movie or two I’d like to see. I still have lots of unattended yard work (not to mention house work) to complete. I still have tons of work to do on writing projects; well, you get the idea. I still have lots to do.

You probably do too.

Who doesn’t?

But it’s a long time until next summer and next August.

So, I plan to slow down whenever I can during my August urgency moments. I will remind myself to enjoy these fleeting days of yet another summer winding down. Because they’re almost gone. Again.

What about you?

Do you feel a sense of urgency to get things done in August?

Do you have special plans to close out August or summer this year?

How do you slow down time?

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20 thoughts to “August Urgency”

  1. I love sunflowers and I have such mixed emotions about August for many reasons but I’ll go with the one that has been with my for most of my life. I love the FIRST crisp air of autumn. For one day. Then, I want the summer back and I want it to stay. Perhaps it’s time to move to somewhere warmer?

    Perfect way to put the feeling. Urgency. Yes. To grab every last little bit of summer that I can…..

    Love to you, Nancy….


    1. Ann Marie, Yes, you might not be residing in the best location if that’s the case! I love sunflowers too. And fall. Bring it on! Thanks for commenting.

  2. I finished my cancer treatments in mid-July (3 years ago) so August was the only “summer” I got that year. Hence, I feel differently about August. And given that it’s 100+ degrees where I live and has been for weeks, things have slowed way, way down (melting, slooooooowly… 😉 ).

    1. Teresa, Good to hear from you! Wow, it has been hot where you are. I guess everything has to slow down when the thermometer gets to triple digit readings. Try to stay cool! Thanks for commenting. And good luck with the book stuff!

  3. Hi Nancy:

    This August has been exceptional because my daughter is starting college in just a few days. Way back in June I promised myself that spending time with her would be my priority this summer – and that’s what I did. Now, as the days wind down, I have lovely memories of our girls’ road trip, family vacation and just sitting around talking. I’m not ready entirely to let her go, but I am comfortable that I used the time we had together this summer well. Also, I console myself by remembering that I love autumn. It’s all good!

    Survival > Existence,


    1. Debbie, Wishing you luck as you send your daughter off to college. It’s a huge milestone which I’ve been through three times now. Hope things go well for you all! Good for you for doing what mattered most to you this summer! Cuts down on that urgency feeling a bit doesn’t it? Thanks for commenting.

  4. I’m pretty excited that summer is winding down, although it went very, very fast. Every season goes very fast for me. At least once a month, I actually forget what season it is for a second. The weeks go by in a blur quite often!

    I am getting better at slowing down and focusing on what’s important rather than worrying about a “to do” list.

    1. Lindsay, It did go by fast didn’t it? This was such a special summer for you! Getting married this summer probably made it go by even faster for you. I bet you are looking forward to cooler temps now. I am. Good for you for slowing down to focus on what’s most important. “To do” lists are over-rated IMO! ha.

  5. Your description of August of two years ago and the time since describes my experience exactly as yours. My life changed when the radiologist at the Piper Center in Minneapolis told me I had breast cancer. Every day I am more aware of the beauty surrounding me and the change of seasons that we experience in Minnesota. Thanks for putting my feelings into words!

    1. Karen, I’m glad to hear you relate to things I’ve said. I know what you mean about trying to be more aware of what’s all around. I guess you and I are “neighbors!” Things will be cooling down fast soon won’t they? Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate hearing from you.

  6. Hi Nancy,

    I can see why August provides those memories for you. Sounds like your chemo regimen was horrific (of course, what chemo is a walk in the park?).

    I’m so very glad you are NED.

    Also what resonated with me is how kids want time to go fast, and all adults want is for time to slow down. Believe it or not — I can slow down time, reducing it to moments in my mind.

    However, August as a whole is buzzing by for sure. I love fall, but I don’t like the days being shortened. I need my sunlight!

    BTW, I sent you an e-mail.

    1. Beth, It must be a handy skill to be able to slow down time in your mind! Maybe that’s what meditation is all about… Yes, August is a mixed bag of memories for me and a busy month for everyone it seems. I think I spoke too soon though, because it’s really really hot again! Thanks for commenting. And yes, I got your email. Thanks. I’ll respond soon.

  7. I just looked out my window, it’s 8:32 pm and it’s already dark.A sure sign Fall is lurking.
    August 2009 I was on taxotere.It was not good, first bout finished I passed out cold at home. My white count crashed big time.There I was on the Palliative/Oncology floor. I had a great room, wall papered walls A/C good snacks in the fridge, hospital food sucked!! In total I spent over 30 days in hospital after Taxotere. August was a bit of a blur for me. My brother had recently passed away, my bio father was quite ill. I just wanted to fast forward to Spring. Here I am 3 years later. Getting ready to fly to Paris on the 4th of September. Picking up with an old boyfriend WOW !! getting married in Paris!! I think and I ask is this really me or am I going to wake up? Then I talk with the “man” and it hits me like a ton of marshmallows this is my life and I am silly happy!!! My darling son starts his first year of University, he is taking Photo Journalism my dearest step-father has given him all of my mother’s camera equipment. She was an amatuer though he photos were magazine good. All her lens, those huge specialty ones for up close and personal shots. I told him we never had a bona fide Papparazzi in the family.
    Still in the back of my mind there is that albatross. For now I am going to enjoy my days. Finish planning, packing, I keep think maybe there was a reason I never became seriously involved with anyone?? With him there was no question not one negative thought .. He said we should get married I said OK it was that simple!!
    This has been a great summer, Olympics, hot days, and this incredible sweet man that just loves me boobless and all……

    Love Alli……XX

    1. Alli, The days are quickly getting shorter aren’t they? Suddenly it’s very hot and humid here again though… Your August 2009 memories sound horrendous. I’m sorry about all that. No wonder that’s all a blur. I am so thrilled about your upcoming wedding. I think it’s great you have found love again. And a Paris wedding no less! I’m glad you’ve been having such a great summer, Alli. You deserve it! Good luck with the wedding festivities!

  8. We have actually been taking it easy this August. Our VBS was the first week and as the director, I just didn’t have any energy to do anything but relax when VBS was over! What a relief. Instead, I’ve been taking the girls to their various doctor/dentist/eye appts. to fill out all those forms for school. The weather was cool (although now we’re having a heat wave again) so we were able to spend some time outside.

    1. Ginny Marie, I don’t blame you for taking it easy after finishing up with VBS. That’s quite an undertaking! There is a lot to do running around getting ready for school isn’t there? It’s that August urgency you know! Enjoy the last days of summer and the start of a fresh school year! Thanks for commenting.

  9. What an interesting angle for a post! August is indeed a month where we feel the need for closure. I’m closing out August by getting ready for the upcoming National Lymphedema Network biannual international conference, which is being held Sept. 5 through 9. There is so much to do before then. I’ll get to see my youngest son in college and spend Labor Day with him before the conference starts.

    There seems no way to slow down time. I guess I cope by taking some time out during each day to do personally enjoyable things like going to the pool and reading in the hot tub. Something about these activities makes time elapse in a pleasant way.

    Thanks for the great thoughts about the dog days of summer. xxoo

    1. Jan, It sounds like September is going to start out on a very busy note for you! Thanks so much for your continuing and tireless advocacy work on behalf of those with lymphedema. You’re doing such important work, Jan. I’m glad you get to visit your son too. I like the way you carve out time for personally enjoyable activities. Good for you! Thanks for commenting.

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