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Back to school — now what?

Are your kids back in school?  Some people love this time of year, and others, not so much.  I think it probably has a lot to do with how much you do or do not like structure, among other things.  I am someone who thrives on schedule and routine.  I like a break from it as much as anyone, but for regular every day life, give me a day with some goals or deadlines blocked out, and I will accomplish a great deal.  If a day is wide open in front of me with nothing planned, I love it, too — because then I can plan what I’m going to do.

My husband says I like the planning of a trip more than going on the actual trip.  That’s not true (if he loves me, shouldn’t he know that? …. therapist humor) , but it is true that I love a good project, especially in the initial stages.

So when it was time for my children to head back to school, I always felt more organized and more productive.  I loved the summer with its easy days, beach trips, and not having to ask “Did you do  it?” about homework.  But even as a child I liked that feeling of returning to school.  The thought of September (don’t even get me started on returning to school before Labor Day … this is Not Right!) makes me think of crisp autumn air, new school clothes, textbooks waiting to be opened … everything crisp and new and ready to be begun.  As a native of Southern California, I don’t know where the crisp autumn air imagery comes from.  As I write this, it is 103 degrees, overcast, and smoky from all the fires that are burning.  But I digress.

How do you feel about this time of year?  It doesn’t matter if you have children in school or not, or even whether you have children at all.  All of us have the shared experience of being the school child, whatever that meant to us, and we can make use of that now.  No matter how you feel about structure, September, school or schedule, you can still use that “inner child” to decide on a few “new beginnings” you want might to make.

This a great time of year to make a New Year’s resolution, for example.  Not a January-style resolution; we all know that those tend to fade out very quickly.  How about more of a resolution to learn something new, in honor of September?  Could be learning how to take better care of yourself, if your kids are back in school.  Could be doing some parent-child learning projects that aren’t about pencil and paper.  Could be going to the library or the bookstore to get a book on something you’ve always wanted to know more about, but haven’t allowed the time to learn.

Make this September your month to feel energized, hopeful and renewed.  What with stock market crashes, unemployment, the state of world and the economy, and who knows what else, it’s been a heck of year since last September.  In the words of Queen Elizabeth, an annus horribilis.  This is as good a time as any to declare the beginning of a New Year.  Let’s make it a great one!

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