Thirteen Gold Coins

Photograph of gold coins

I just realized that summer is more than half over.  Yikes.  So I thought I’d reprise this post from 2010.  It may be the most essential summer insight ever!  (Or not.)

Some time ago, I had an epiphany about summer. That’s why this may be the most important piece about summer you’ll ever read! Here goes.

Summer in Chicago is the time I live for. It’s when the city is in its full glory. I think about it all winter; it’s my compass point the umpteenth time I am shoveling snow in February. But like all treasures, summer is finite. And quantifiable.

There are 13 weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Just 13 precious weekends. Think of each weekend as a gold coin, because that’s what is, something of value that should be treasured. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. It should be spent wisely and not squandered.

How do you squander a gold coin? There are lots of ways to be a wastrel of summer weekends, but one way of misusing this treasure is to spend it on something you don’t really want to do–a social event you feel obligated to attend, a weekend with people about whom you’re indifferent, or doing something that just doesn’t speak to you. Sounds a little cold-hearted, I know, but parting with a treasure is not to be done lightly.

Use the gold coins on the people you truly care about, on the activities you really love and that are meaningful. Sure, some summer weekends have to be used for chores and drudgery, but that’s all the more reason to spend the balance wisely!

Come Labor Day, how will you have spent your coins?

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  • JeanSC

    When you’re long-term unemployed against your will and in flagrant disregard of your education, talents, and abilities, and don’t even have enough income to eat properly, buy the new refrigerator needed for years, or new sneakers, weekends are just another 2 days of your life being wasted. All the worthwhile things you can do for yourself are nothing, little better than navel-gazing, compared to what you can and want to do for other people in a remunerative way, and aren’t being allowed to. For us, a vacation would be being allowed to work for pay, preferably in a self-actualizing situation. Last month I found myself with enough money to buy a file cabinet. It’s full of information I need for the career I’m supposed to be in. It’s the first real file cabinet I’ve had and getting career-related items in it was more important than anything else.

  • They should be used for best purposes.