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‘I go outside, feel miserable and come home burnt to a crisp’: the people who hate summer

By Michael Cragg

10 Aug 2022 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

How can anyone hate summer? This personal article describes the pressure that summer brings to the author and why the experience may not be all that enjoyable for everyone.

Every day this summer has started with the same routine. I wake up, plunge my head into a sink full of cold water and then check the weather app on my phone. I’m not interested in the forecast for London, where I live, but for Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. It’s not just that city’s climate – temperature in the low 10s, a hint of rain – that excites me, but also the thrill of imagining a place where the hype around summer doesn’t exist. There is no pressure to do summer “right”; no sense that you are cramming a year’s worth of living into three months; no Fomo (fear of missing out) as a result of scrolling through endless Instagram Stories featuring barbecues, festivals, beaches and thirst traps; no shame at preferring to stay inside with your two biggest fans. It’s time for me to confess: I hate the summer.

The months from June to September have always given me anxiety. In the single-parent household where I grew up, there were few options for escape abroad and the six-week school summer holidays were tricky. My mum, quite reasonably, wanted me and my sister out of the house, in the sun. I felt aimless, riding a bike up and down our street, or hitting a tennis ball against our neighbours’ wall until they got annoyed. Tales of my mum’s idyllic-sounding childhood in the Sussex countryside, where trees were climbed by 8am and streams navigated by lunchtime, were passed down to us like folklore. If I wanted to sit indoors and read, or play Sonic the Hedgehog on a red-hot Sega Mega Drive, I would often be made to feel guilty about not going outside to “enjoy it while it lasts”. To an introverted kid, that felt like a threat – and the feeling has stayed with me.

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