Wake Me Up When September Ends – 30 September 2013


I wrote on the last day of last month about the greatness of the preceding weeks. Today being 30 September, it’s perhaps apt to reflect on this month.

In essence, September’s been an enormous contrast to August. Of course, the daily drill of school-life came as a harsh awakening (even if it was one that was hardly unexpected), after the long weeks of largely bliss relaxation.

I’m so glad to see the back of this month. It’s been relentless. One thing after another, day after day. And, yes, “that’s life, Andrew”.

But, wait: I’m not complaining. Standing by my words from last month’s post, I know it’s imperative to “[make] the most of every day”. I’m just saying that these past few weeks have been especially exhausting.

Perhaps it’s in fact because of my earlier words that I’ve found September so tiring. I had such a good summer, that things I’d hoped to do during it were delayed until the start of this month. I’m thinking especially of InSpire, which finally got printed and went on sale only last weekend.

That said, this month has been tremendously rewarding. At school, I’ve made my first public speeches as Head Boy, virtually finished my UCAS application, and made a decent start to A2 studies. Outside the classroom, my DofE Silver Award is now completed, and I’m working away on the film of my Gold expedition with a view to have the whole Award signed-off by Christmas.

Harriet, Andrew, and Matthew Burdett

Harriet, me, and Matthew, after dining out in London earlier this month. Harriet has since begun her studies in Edinburgh. (PHOTO: Ann Burdett)

I’m not really an especially keen fan of Green Day, but there’s something about their 2005 single – whose title I’ve borrowed for this post – that always strikes a chord with me. The song has many different meanings for many different people (that, surely, is the power of great music), having been written by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong in memory of his late father.

But for me, there’s something about that line: “Drenched in my pain again / becoming who we are”.

For all the difficulties we face in our lives – and, there’s no denying, we all seem to think we live increasingly difficult lives – they actually make us who we are. The way we deal with problems; with disappointment; with heartbreak and with bitter regret – it shapes us.

Truth is, you can’t sleep through September. You can’t block out the things that are hard to bear – if you try, they just stack up in ever-taller piles. The only choice, therefore, is to accept that “summer has come and passed” and remember all the great things it held.

Remember Murray’s Wimbledon win. Think back to the long heatwave. I know I’ll never forget all the nights I spent under canvas this summer.

For me, now, what I need to do is this: turn that summer buzz into fuel for the winter. It sounds airy and daft, but if I’ve learnt anything this month, it’s that I need to remember the positives when the going gets tough.

For truly: when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.