Yesterday I mentioned that I've started feeling that "September feeling" . . . and it seems that many of you are feeling it, too!
Based on the comments you left yesterday, lots of us consider Labor Day - along with a change in temperatures and the loss of daylight - to be a turning point or symbolic start of a new year. Some of us feel a bit restless -- anticipating the change of season, but not really feeling it yet (because weather), and many of us feel energized -- ready to embrace the coming autumn, and feeling a sense of renewal.
I'm up north this week, and while yesterday was super hot and humid (I felt like I was in the deep tropical rainforest instead of the north woods. . . ), today is cool and rainy-rainy-rainy. Fall is definitely coming.
September has a back-to-school vibe that is hard for me to ignore - or escape. Even though I haven't sent my kids back to school in nearly a decade -- and it's been far, far longer since I've gone back to school myself -- I just can't escape the "September feeling" of a new teacher and a new classroom, fresh pencils and unmarked workbooks. September will always, always feel like a brand new start -- full of possibility -- for me!
Author Gretchen Rubin first remarked that "September is the other January" in her book Happier at Home -- where she set up her home happiness project to coincide with the academic calendar. Gretchen noted that "each year, Labor Day was a milestone that provoked . . . self-evaluation and reflection."
That definitely happens for me, too -- just like it does at the (calendar) beginning of the new year. I find September to be a great time to reflect on my year so far, to recommit to (and sometimes to even remind myself of) goals and intentions I set for myself back in January, and maybe even to set some new intentions for the remainder of the year. I really do see it as a chance to renew myself.
Psychology research even shows that there is such a thing as the "fresh start effect." It turns out that people are more likely to look at their lives differently afer a "temporal landmark" or milestone events in their lives. These events can be as major as a medical diagnosis, a new job, moving to a new place, getting married, etc. . . . OR as commonplace as a birthday, the start of a new season, or even a new month. These "temporal landmarks" (which can really be from nearly any life event. . . ) bring about feelings of change, of new-ness, of a clean slate. They become a way of measuring our lives (before I had cancer/after I had cancer; before I graduated/after I graduated; during the summer/now that it's fall) -- and new ways of living them.
Think about it how often this happens in your own life . . .
- Maybe "summer you" lived a more easy-breezy schedule and got out of her regular routines (ahem. . . ) -- but "September you" is going to recalibrate and get back to business!
- Surely rested and relaxed "vacation you" is ready to transition back to "work you" (often after an uncomfortable vacation-jet-lag couple of days . . . ).
- And doesn't it always seems that "holiday-what-the-heck you" is eager to get back to "healthy you" after the parties wind down and the cookies are (finally) gone?
Basically, we can conjure a new start any time we want. But for lots of us . . . it coincides with the start of the school year. September!
And what do we do with this "fresh start effect"?
We hit re-set.
I'm going to be spending some time during these last days of August . . . looking back and thinking ahead. I want to embrace the changing season with a renewed sense of energy.
How about you? Any plans for September . . . the "other January?"