Brendan O'Connor: 'And all at once, summer collapsed'
Signs you're getting old, No 859. There are two weeks left in August but my body has given up on the summer. It's had enough. It's craving routine. It's screaming out for it. You don't even want to know the way my body is saying enough is enough. Just trust me. It is.
It's not like I've gone on some kind of massive bender for the summer. But you know yourself, it was a bit relaxed. Drinking on consecutive days, a few random beers on week nights sometimes, the odd casual glass of wine with dinner, too much meat, too much bread, too many chips, no fruit or veg in sight. Add to that randomly grazing on crisps and the cheap sweets and rubbish to which I am a slave, and you come to a point where you have to accept the scales are not off, and all your shirts and trousers haven't all suddenly shrunk. It turns out the body gets a bit sensitive to not being looked after as you get older.
Exercise was as random. You wouldn't really call swimming in the sea exercise as such, more wallowing. It's time to knuckle down.
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I feel a bit cheated this summer. I had some great times, but it felt like it never really took off, didn't it? Too much rain, not enough light, no consistency with the damn weather, no reliability. That lazy summer feeling never had a chance to kick in. It felt like the summer never took.
And, make no mistake, it is over now. As I've pointed out before, summer in Ireland, if there is such a thing, is May, June and July. It's been on the turn since the start of August, hasn't it? There's a chill in the morning air sometimes as I face up to the sea. Speaking of which, one thing that was stringing out the summer a bit for me over the last few weeks was the sea, which had warmed up nicely. And then we went and made shite of that too. This is why we can't have nice things.
If the summer is my anti-depressant, I didn't get my dose this year. But on we go. Time to feel the chill of autumnal discipline and routine. Which, does, in fairness, have its own charms - they just take a while to appreciate again.
It's time to stop lazing in bed in the mornings, procrastinating about starting the day. It's time to start every day by dragging myself up and down the pool, so that at least you begin things on the positive note. It's hard the first few times you do it, but that's the thing with habits, they fall away easily but they come back easily too.
I tried to eat some fruit today and it was almost as if I'd forgotten how to do it, and forgotten how to enjoy it, and forgotten how to regard this as food. But I'll learn again quickly to con myself I enjoy it, and to con myself exercise makes me feel good, and to con myself I feel better with fewer random pints in my life.
There is magic in the autumnal discipline - it's just different from that summer magic. You just have to make that adjustment of the head. But it's hard. Because summer is my time.
It is when I move most easily through the world. And it's hard to move back to the dullness of autumn when you feel you didn't get a real summer vibe or feel that summer freedom, when it was too short and too spluttery.
Of course you'd think I would have learnt, by my 50th summer, how things are, and would have tempered my expectations of an Irish summer. But that's part of the magic too. We never lose hope. But each year, slightly more, I wonder when it will be time to go somewhere with a bit more summer.