Today is Labor Day, the day made to celebrate the hard work of “laborers” all over America. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September, at a time that is perfect for anyone needing a rest from their busy summer schedule. I love having the ability to enjoy a national day off, but unfortunately there are many people who have to work on this great holiday. There are some jobs that are completely essential to running this society correctly, so I understand the idea of having them work today, but many people in non essential jobs should definitely have this day as a break. The class of job that I am referring to is the dreaded retail job. Retail work is the way of life for almost 1/4th of Americans, and this number seems to be growing exponentially. There was a time that I worked retail for a while, and I can honestly say that retail work, while it does pay, may be the thing I actually detest the most. I remember working a few retail jobs while I was in college, and just enjoying the fact that I had some spending money, but when I worked a bit of retail after graduation, I knew that it was definitely not for me. There was a time when retail work was seen as a temporary solution, or as a job for teenagers, but in this economy it has become a staple for many people and families. I understand that many need to work retail, I just wish retail companies wouldn’t exploit their employees. On this day that marks the necessity of our country’s labor force, many people have to work extended hours in order to satisfy company goals. Retail workers today are not always treated very fairly, and they have very little job security. I know that all companies are not the same, and that retail was not built to be a long term career, but I find it absurd that so little has changed in the world of retail over the years. I have never been one to call for unionization, and I don’t think retail workers should even be in a union, I just think that more changes should be made to make work more fair for retail workers. Labor Day celebrates the work of our country’s citizens, hopefully one day, retail will be more regulated to allow for better treatment of their overworked workforce.
Labor Day weekend is the unofficial last weekend of the summer. While summer actually ends on September 22nd, this weekend it is definitely the beginning of the end of summer fun. With college students already back to school, and everyone else soon to follow, everywhere you go seems much less like summer in spite of the still tepid temperatures. Many people use Labor Day weekend as a time to barbecue and spend time with family, I on the other hand like to just sit back, relax, and reflect on the summer fun that has come and gone. I know I have stated before that I don’t like extreme temperatures, hot or cold, so I really enjoy the transitional periods between New York’s most extreme seasons. As the city transforms from a tropical play land into a more mellow fall gallery, I love to remember the adventures of the summer past. This summer was quite eventful and definitely enjoyable, but somehow it always seems like it was not long enough. When I look back on the activities of summer, I realize that while they all lasted a perfect amount of time, the memory can never truly recreate the enjoyment of each moment. Memories are always great, but it is most important to make sure that each moment is given an adequate amount of time to be cherished. Summer is just about gone, hopefully everyone had an enjoyable time, and took the time to actually enjoy it since, much like summer, moments come and go, but the memory is never the same as enjoying a moment in the present.
One of my favorite things about getting out of the city is being able to look up at the evening sky, and see the free show of stars and constellations. I find stargazing to be incredibly peaceful, and oddly thought provoking. It is interesting to think about how these stars I am seeing are light years away, and the fact that some of them may already be dead and gone is amazing. Centuries ago early astronomers looked up to the stars and mapped out constellations based on the figures they saw in the stars. There are 88 constellations officially recognized by the IAU, but I am sure anyone can look up at the sky and find a formation that looks like something interesting. I like to treat stargazing like cloud watching, I like to try and see if I can make my own constellations out of the lights I’ve been given. Looking up at the stars is definitely an enjoyable way to relax after a long day, hopefully tonight the sky is clear enough to enjoy the show.
Today, as I was tossing around a baseball with my younger brother, we decided to take a break to enjoy the park. After a while of sitting and enjoying the serenity my brother told me he doesn’t exactly understand how people have one place of relaxation. I am one of these people who has a hard time relaxing so, I fully agreed with his query, but sitting on that grass and just resting made me realize that that park is my “place of relaxation.” I actually had nothing to think about or worry about other that catching the ball when it was thrown my way, it was quite peaceful. I understand what he meant by one place of relaxation, because for me, a place of relaxation is conditional. The same park we sat in this afternoon, could be filled with barbecues and loud birthday parties in a week’s time, so for places of relaxation it must fit what is needed at a specific moment. Some people love to fly fish in a quiet stream, and others may enjoy a loud concert, but both individuals have their place of rest, and that is the key to relaxation. I know that I won’t be able to always have a peaceful park to sit in and listen to birds chirping, but I now know that any time I can find this place, I have found relaxation.