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Thursday, August 20, 2015

A New School Year Awaits

I know that January technically is the beginning of the new year, but for me, it's always seemed like fall is when I hit my reset button.  I think it's because school was always something that I looked forward to with excitement.

Yes.  I was THAT kid.

I had horrible allergies and asthma and summer was a bit hellish for me to be quite honest.  I couldn't swim and everyone hung out at the community pool.  I got to know the librarian quite well in the lovely air conditioned library.

I will say the sound of crickets chirping, the hum of the streetlights coming on does take me back to a few happy, outdoor childhood memories, but that happiness was nothing compared with the excitement of a new school year.

We, the neighborhood gang, would all ride our bikes over to the school where, before privacy laws, they would post the class lists on the doors.  We would know, instantly, that our next 9 months would be impacted by if we were in class with our friends or sworn enemies... did we get the nice teacher or the mean teacher?  The anticipation and expectations were better than going on a first date. 

And to be honest, every single year was different.  Because of the other students in the class.  Because of the teacher.  Some years, like 5th grade, were amazing.  Others, like 3rd, well, I made it through.  Every teacher had a different tone for the class.  Sometimes I was forced to make new friends because last year's best friend was in another class.

Even junior high and high school we were excited- and all through college.  Did you get the classes you wanted?  Are your friends in the same class?  Will you have study partners?  Is that annoying kid in there AGAIN?

It was all new.  A new chance.  A new opportunity.

And new school supplies.  Is there anything more symbolic to rebirth than a blank notebook?  Those dual pocket folders that would be taped together by spring break, still shiny.... sharp pencils.  Everything in its place. 

Now that I'm married to a teacher, I constantly give him crap about his part-time job*.  He knows now, after nearly 15 years, to NEVER complain about how he ONLY has three weeks left of vacation.  I remember telling him "You know what the rest of the world calls the first day of school?  MONDAY.  Just like last Monday and the Monday before that."

But the perk of being married to a teacher (aside from his giant salary that provides me a life of luxury. .... hahahaha...), is that you get to go back to the academic calendar.  I do slow down my summer schedule at the office.  I try to only have meetings that I need to have.  I want to spend as much family time as I can together.  It never works out to be quite enough- and this summer June was incredibly busy for me-- but with the heat, so many of my clients leaving town in the summer, it does seem a little less busy than other months.

Because of that, I get to take advantage of the reset button, like when I was a student.  My kids will have new teachers, new schedules, new classes.  They have all their new shiny school supplies. 

Last year was so chaotic for us that we never got into a groove.  This year we can.  My husband has a new position as a coordinator which means I can get back to the gym in the morning.  Plus, my son is old enough that if we do have a little overlap in my return from the gym versus his leaving for work, he can handle it.  I am ecstatic.

My son is an early riser, my daughter a night owl, so we all committed to making sure Mom stays in the loop on the classwork this year.  That did not happen last year.  Moving threw us off our pace and we're back on track.  We've got a plan.  I'll go through work with my son in the morning and my daughter after dinner.

It's time to evaluate what worked, what didn't work and what do we want to be by May.

To reset.

When I was a senior in college a friend of mine that had graduated two years earlier was back on campus and I asked him what adulthood was like.  He said it was a perpetual treadmill.  There were no grades.  No sense of completion.  No projects that truly ended.  It was ongoing and a bit overwhelming at times. 

He was right.

For years there was a break.  A new start.  An internship.  A new professor.  There were eras.. when I worked at Disney... when I interned in Atlantic City... high school... junior high... a different dorm... an easy way to quantify time.

This year I am celebrating my 20th year of having my practice.  For 20 years I've done basically the same thing, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year.  The occasional office move.  A few market meltdowns to keep my life interesting.  I rearranged my furniture last summer because I was bored of looking out the same window.  But in general, the core of what I do is the same.

Living in Las Vegas doesn't help either.  Yes we have seasons, but they are subtle.  It can make the passage of time less noticeable. 

If I hadn't met my husband it would have been a constant treadmill. 

But with him and my kids, I am forced somewhat to take a break.  Or slow down a bit for that sacred three months every summer.

To reset.  Reboot.

To refresh.

To look at the next 9 months with excitement and wonder-- what is coming next?

*Please note that I am aware that teaching is NOT a part-time job.  I just like to give my husband crap like every good wife does.