The Summer of George.
I am a big fan of the show Seinfeld (and generally anything written or produced by Larry David). The melodic delivery of the dialogue, which by all accounts reads very straight on the page, is a vocalist’s joy. The seamless interweaving of the bizarre character plots are also genius to behold—although, it is amazing the show is so popular given that the majority of episodes revolve around plots of deceit, which you would ordinarily be repulsed by, if you encountered them in real life. Then again, within those plots, common superficialities and values are given center stage, making the show universally relatable and engaging, regardless of moral centering.
My favorite Seinfeld character is George Costanza (with Elaine Benes following at a close second). George, as played by Jason Alexander, embodies such an endearing level of charm that it is hard to hate his character, despite his insecurities and lack of ethics. His character provides a benchmark of the person you never want to find yourself becoming—yet he carries such an earnest honesty that he remains likeable, even as you watch him make some of the worst decisions possible.
In season eight of Seinfeld, George is fired, losing his position as Assistant to the Traveling Secretary for the New York Yankees, and receives a three month severance package. He enthusiastically proclaims to Jerry that he has decided to live his life to the fullest and “taste the fruits of his labor”, proclaiming the months ahead: The Summer of George. However, immediately after making this declaration, he falls into a vegetative state of laziness and procrastination. When Jerry confronts George on his lack of action, George protests, voicing his need to “decompress” from his plans for the summer, and he puts off moving forward. Soon after, via an unfortunate, comic plot turn, George has a freak accident and ends up spending his summer in the hospital undergoing physical therapy, learning how to walk again, as his muscles have atrophied due to the weeks of inactivity leading up to the accident. In one fell swoop, the prospects of George’s summer, along with his severance pay, disappear overnight.
Summer is normally not a time associated with opportunity, but it is actually the perfect time to make gains and reset your strategy—the perfect time to route your way out of whatever personal Shawshank you’re in, particularly if you are an artist double-timing with a day job. If friends and associates are away on vacation or partying, and you’re unable to do the same, due to lack of funds, the summer is a great time to take advantage of the quiet to woodshed, realign and make room to create.
On a larger scale, life can be experienced as an extended summer of sorts, as you may find yourself continuing the work towards actualizing your goals and dreams, year after year, and still waiting for a return on investment. When you’re doing the work out in the sun with little protection and getting burned in the process, it is hard to remember that summer is one of four seasons. The longer the summer, a greater fueling of faith is required to continue forward and resist the voice of anger and resentment within to abandon the blueprint and vegetate. It is entirely possible to inadvertently prolong your summer by rejecting the planting and weed-work required, so visualization of your goals is critical, in addition to the weed-work of your thoughts, to maintain a healthy, balanced outlook and disposition—a thought-nutrient soil for new ideas and creativity to sprout.
Life can be hard and everyone has their own level of personal challenges to overcome—some greater than others. From personal experience, I’ve found that the longer your summer, the harder it is to believe a harvest is coming, but every season comes to a close. If you’re working to close the gap and advance, there is still plenty of time remaining this summer to try different techniques and tools—different seed, or different soil. There is still time to prepare for a seat at the table.
Maximize your summer. Sometimes it doesn’t arrive at the ideal time, but the fall always comes.