Thinking of summer ….

Summer in Sweden is a big thing, probably the biggest thing of the year. It starts with midsummer and ends in August when school starts again. Summer is not necessarily a time when temperatures are high and the sun is shining, summer can be cold and rainy too, although hopes are always high for a sunny and warm summer. Summer is a time for holidays, for relaxing, for being in the countryside, on an island, at a lake, in the summerhouse, on a sailing boat, and for meeting family and friends.

The mental build-up for summer begins already in spring. Newspapers, radio and TV, and of course all the advertisements prepare us for summer: what to buy for the garden or the summer house, how to renovate the house that has been bought, what to plant, what to cook, what to grill, how to entertain the kids and the family. And among the real estate advertisements, holiday houses for sale fill pages – of course now is also the time when the longing to own such a pretty little lake or seaside cottage is at its peak!

There is so much summer everywhere, already before summer really starts, that I wonder whether it does not feel really stressful to live up to all the things one should, has, or wants to do during summer. During these few weeks, when the days are long and temperatures warmer, one should relax and build up for the coming long, cold and dark winter. Instead it might be a time of frustration, because the summer was not warm enough, because it was raining all the time, because, because, because!

Many people in Sweden suffer from winter depression, because there is too little light during the winter months. But, many people here also suffer from a spring depression, because the expectations and demands on the few summer weeks are so incredibly high, that it leads to stress and to depressions. I had no idea that spring depressions actually exist, but was told by a friend last week, that these are quite common, and caused by the sudden reappearance of the light and the feeling that so much has to be accomplished in the short time before darkness hits again. End of spring also seems to be the time of the year when people are least happy and content, when communication problems arise, and many workplaces face problems. Maybe it is because everyone is made aware of the fact that half of the year has almost passed by again?!

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4 Responses to Thinking of summer ….

  1. as a fellow northerner (i’m from st.petersburg), i can say that it all sounds so familiar! you wait all year for the short summer and by the time you realize that it’s actually there, it’s half over and you get panicky that it will have passed in a blink of an eye and just start anticipating that any day now the weather might make a turn for the fall.

    i am exaggerating a bit but that’s pretty much the jist. summer in the north holds so much significance. it’s almost fairytale time when magic is possible!

    • Hallo hoopoeinanoak,
      I can imagine that it is the same feeling in St Petersburg, a long long winter and then the short summer comes and one wants to do so much, and a few weeks later it is autumn and winter again. I have only experienced St Petersburg and the Karelian Isthmus during December (dark and cold) and March (light, snow and ice cold, but really beautiful)!

      I very much liked the story about going back to the place where you lived as a child and wandering around the village and the houses which are all broken down now. Great feeling behind the story!

  2. blamannen says:

    Call me anti-social, but for me summer is a time when everyone goes away and the office is relaxed, coffee breaks are ignored or conversely extended and research gets done. I love summer at INK.

    • Hi Ian,
      what a surprise that you are reading my blog/s! I feel exactly the way you describe your summer: the university is quiet, almost everyone is gone and I finally find the peace to do some fun stuff: writing and reading! And, I think Stockholm is a great place during summer – exploring the archipelago and the many outdoor restaurants. But among Swedes I often feel that expectations regarding summer are very high, because people know that it will be short and that after midsummer the days are already getting shorter again.

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