Unlike most kids I knew, I don’t remember ever dreading the first day of school. I might have had a mini panic attack before starting my senior year of high school, but even those years when I switched schools and had to find all new friends, all that ever came to mind was excitement and enthusiasm. Maybe it was my naiveté, maybe it was my upbringing, maybe it was just my personality. But there was something about backpack shopping, picking out my outfit for the very first day, and pouring over the introductory paperwork all the students at my schools were sent pre- Day One that made my heart so very happy. The thought of the impending challenges of a new grade – or in some cases, a new environment altogether – never really entered my head.
No matter what our lives looked like in those formative years of kindergarten through 12th grade, once September hits the ground running, we’re thrown back into that mentality of “back to school season.” Preparing for a new start, hoping for a positive change, and crossing our fingers we’ll be able to handle what life hands us for the year ahead.
Without summer vacations and required reading, it can be hard as an adult to draw the line between where summer ends and fall begins. Because although we’d love to just have an endless summer, and although the first day of Autumn isn’t technically until the 23rd, we can all feel a shift from the moment Labor Day weekend comes to a close. It’s “back to the grind,” even though most of us have been grinding all year long. And so it can just seem like more of the same – like we lost track of time, and the time of year so associated with taking a breather completely passed us by. Couple this with a built-in programming from childhood to register this time of year as transitional, and it’s easy to feel a little bummed out by the seasonal shift.
While January usually gets the attention when it comes to resolutions, I’d like to argue that September deserves just as much attention as the 01/01 mark. It’s the perfect time to evaluate where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where you’re going. It’s a time for us to bring back that childlike enthusiasm, relentless joy, and even those first-day jitters we had as kids. Because all worthwhile and exciting changes in life bring up first-day jitters, really.
This month, I encourage you to look at what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what your heart truly desires in this moment. Maybe you’ve been skimping on self care and getting a 15 minute sweat in before work is just what you need. Maybe you’ve been so wrapped up in work that your social life isn’t what you’d like it to be. Call a friend you haven’t checked in on in a while. Evaluate what you’ve accomplished this year so far, and how you want to feel by the time the clock strikes midnight on January 1st of next year.
There will be challenges in the coming months, of course, and the newness of fall and winter will bring all kinds of highs and lows we could never have predicted. But if we shift our perspective to refocus our minds, refresh our hearts, and renew our commitments, there’s no telling what kind of miracles the rest of this year has in store. Pick out your outfit, grab your backpack, and let’s get on this bus together.