By Sean McVeigh
One year when I was in college, the athletic department gathered all of the student-athletes into an auditorium for a meeting. In the meeting, they explained to us what the theme for the year would be across all sports. It would be about having a “Gratitude Attitude.” Now, I don’t know if you have ever met a college kid before. They are filled with many defining traits and characteristics — a lot of them great and a lot of them not so great. But I have found that, for the most part, gratitude is not prominent among them. That is not surprising though. There is just too much going on in their lives, too many new experiences and too much opportunity laid before them, for them to be able to take a step back from it all and be truly grateful for what is happening around them in the present. In retrospect, it was probably a really great initiative for the year, but for the life of me I cannot remember anything specific about that gratitude attitude meeting (although I do still have my “Gratitude Attitude” T-shirt — Go ‘Phins!). I can also tell you that, now, looking back, I am so overwhelmingly grateful for those college years. What I would give to go back there…
Schools are back in session and that means that the summer is over. I know, I know we have the month of September. I think September is great. I might be September’s number one fan, in fact. Weather-wise it is the best month hands down. But I am a realist, and in reality, the summer is over. It isn’t just schools starting. Labor Day makes everyone’s job serious again. Everyone knows that now it’s time to batten down the hatches and get back to the real world. There are no more summer Fridays for those who work in the office, weeks off at a time look a little funnier, and unfortunately, there are no more excuses to not write a column every week.
This year, more than ever, I found myself, in these last few weeks of summer, realizing a little too late that it was all ending and desperately trying to get every last drop out of it before it was over. This could have all been avoided though. Why didn’t I have more of a gratitude attitude from the get-go? Why didn’t I appreciate the present and make the most of every second this summer? Maybe it wasn’t just college me. Maybe it’s just one of my many flaws — not being able to appreciate something until it’s too late (cue Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell). I have no doubt that a few months from now when the weather has been tough and the sun hasn’t shined in days, it will not be hard to be grateful for the summer. I will be longing for it. “What I would give for a beach day right now!” That’s when it’s easy.
Well, whether I like it or not, I missed my chance this year. I guess all I can do is be grateful that it’s not winter yet. I’m going to make this the autumn of all autumns! I’m going to appreciate every minute of it. I’ll treat every sip of pumpkin spice and watch every Jets game like it’s my last. When next summer rolls around, I will have the gratitude thing down pat. And come Labor Day 2024, I will have no regrets. I will have had a gratitude attitude the entire summer. In fact, until then, that will be my motto: Live every day like it’s Labor Day.