The Irrational Hold Of Labour Day

It is fascinating the power that seasons have over us. For all of our attempts to defy nature, and to regulate our existence into a monochrome sameness for the sake of efficiency and productivity, it really doesn’t work. The seasons unfold, and they hold an extraordinary power over us in the process.

Summer is a perfect example. By the time that the beginning of July rolls around, our thoughts move to relaxation, to enjoying the sunshine and to moving at a slower pace – even if we aren’t on vacation. Even when we’re in the office. Lunches become a little longer. Off-site meetings become more frequent. The drive back to the office become a little longer and more meandering.

And then Labour Day hits. Despite that fact that most of us are well past school age, and have long since moved past the idea of a two-month long summer vacation that stretches leisurely into the future – right until it slams headlong into the immovable object of that final long weekend – this date has tremendous power in our lives. Before it lies indolence. Around it, we fetishize going office-supply shopping. After it, we all magically become purposeful and productive again.

What is it about Labour Day, in particular, that has this hold on us? Why, several decades after it symbolized something truly meaningful, do we still look on it as the great divide between relaxation and resolve? To a certain extent, the reason is likely repetition. From the time that most of us were old enough to truly keep track of what was going on, our years were divided into work and play, with Labour Day playing the role of an existential internatinal date line beyond which a brand year began. We got new friends, new teachers, new classrooms, new challenges – and new pencil cases. Summer was our reward for the previous year, and Labour Day is when we started anew.

To a certain extent, Labour Day is a more meaningful milestone for many of us than the actual turning of the calendar year. We make mental resolutions to be more focussed and purposeful, to get back to it and ‘get on with things’.

This year, I have to a certain extent regressed. I actually took the summer off, at least most of it. Now that Labour Day has passed, I am looking forward to what still needs to be done before the end of the year (a sizeable and yet still manageable amount, if I am honest with myself). I have started to look forward to work with a renewed energy that was waning by the time the summer took hold. I’ve had an opportunity to relax and recharge, to spend time with those I love, and to engage in purposeless enjoyment of the day. I have not been office supply shopping as yet, but it is getting tempting.

Along with getting back to it cosmically, I am also getting back to it here. You can expect to see relatively frequent updates on whatever happens to catch my fancy. Although I will probably avoid any discussions of politics (whether about the US, Canada, Ontario, Quebec or Toronto) because I like my sanity and prefer my blood pressure to be in the lower numbers, thank you very much.

Leave a Comment