…and yet, sometimes they can’t end fast enough. I had one of those this summer. It was horrible.

As Labor Day weekend approaches and August comes to a close, it seems like everywhere I look, one of two things is happening. Either young, naive couples are tearfully hanging on to each other for the last few moments before their inevitable breakup, or managing to convince each other (and themselves) that somehow, some way, we can make this last. Well, I like to shake things up in my corner of the world. So this one goes out to all the ladies (and gentlemen) who have had a hookup, fling, or true-blue relationship so thoroughly awful this summer that it might almost have been preferable to not get any action at all.

First of all, relax. It’s okay. We all have those WTF-was-I-thinking people in our lives, and while some of them truly should get sucked into the center of the earth by a combination of gravity and used plungers, it’s better than passing up a chance and then wishfully pondering the road not taken. So don’t dwell on the fact that taking the chance was a mistake, either. Forgive yourself for whatever happened.

But remember to learn from it. Was this guy older than you by the better part of a decade and the type to flip out Bruce Banner-style if he found out that you didn’t intend to see him after the first date? Was she manipulative, clingier than cotton candy, and passive-aggressive to an almost comedic degree? Make a mental note of any and all red flags that came up, so that at least you can avoid getting trapped with the same ones next time.

Above all, though, don’t let any of it stop you from pursuing many more summer passions throughout the years to come with just as much joyful and reckless abandon. This one went to hell, but some of my most cherished memories were also born of summer romances, and becoming jaded about any of the season’s gifts to us is no way to live. Don’t be the one who looks back in September and regrets not taking out more time to enjoy the sunshine and sweet smells and Vitamin D. Never forget, you can’t be sure you’ll see any of this again next year. No one can.

Summer and love are two of the most wonderful things in life, and it can be really tough having to let go of both at the same time. Going out for a walk after dinner without your significant other is bittersweet and heart-wrenching enough on its own, and realizing that you can’t even wear shorts after sundown anymore without feeling a chill does exactly nothing to help.

But fall colors are starting to bloom, I have a new job to look forward to after Labor Day, and the holiday season isn’t too far off. Yay for Halloween and pumpkin pie and mistletoe and stuff. And hey, it’s much less ridiculous to start making plans for New Year’s from this side of August! Say goodbye to summer and whoever you spent it with, start cooking up a kickass Halloween, and don’t let the Mayans get you down come December.

 

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