Personal reflections at the end of August
A strange thing happens every year in summer. The first part of summer seems to pass slowly, lazily. The days of July and the first part of August last a long time, and in dazzling light we put our feet in the water, stretch out on the sand, look up at the stars, and without almost realizing it let go of the year of work behind us.
Then August 15 comes and suddenly things change. It looks a bit like the feeling you get on a roller coaster: you go up slowly, almost with difficulty, but when you reach the apex then you come down very fast, amused and scared at the same time. August 15 resembles the curve of the tracks on which the trolley is hooked, after that everything changes a bit.
I generally begin to notice it from a cool note in the air the evening that comes and tastes like September. Even the light softens and becomes yellow and warm. I start thinking again about my work and the year ahead and like on a roller coaster I feel excited, but also a little scared. What is going to happen? What new things are going to happen? What difficulties will I have to face? What adventures will September bring me?
Some time ago a surgeon friend told me that they always operate in two: “We like not being alone, we feel calmer, and if one of us has a problem, the other one takes over.” I thought about my work as a psychotherapist and at that moment it seemed very lonely. Maybe that’s why after August 15 I have the feeling of excitement and fear, will I be able to handle myself in front of my patients’ questions? For a moment I think of their faces if there was a second psychotherapist next to me, perhaps a more experienced one, who would intervene if I were to clam up, and I laugh. They would leave because they would think I was poor and they would be right. So I keep the feeling of loneliness however then I wonder if it is right.
Suddenly a memory comes back to me: the first day of school in high school. Arriving early, sleepy, catching up with classmates after the summer spent away from them then the bell rings and the thousand students of my high school walk up the stairs together leaving behind their summer adventures with the feeling that whatever happens during the school year they will experience it together willy-nilly. When I was 15, I didn’t realize how precious that “all together” was. Now that I am an adult I think about having to start the new year relying on my own legs however this thought is only partially true. What if that image is preserved in the minds of all adults? Walking up the school stairs on the first day together with everyone else. What meaning does it have that I kept that precious moment all these years?
I think about September and the hundreds of thousands of adults going back to work (maybe not all on the same day but almost) and wonder if my feeling of loneliness is justified. Does the fact that we don’t all walk up the school stairs together make others nonexistent? No, just invisible, but they are there, we are all together again starting a new year. And I wonder how much energy there is in this moving together without necessarily having to see each other.
So I get to wish everyone here on papillon a Happy New Year. As Piero Angela said in his greeting, “let’s do our best.”