Friday, August 31, 2012
If September were a stand-alone month, it would be my favorite. It's still summer, but the scorching heat of August tends to let up. There are hints of fall in the air and cooler evenings perfect for dinner outside or a walk, yet it's still warm enough to wear short sleeves and flip-flops or maybe squeeze in a late summer trip to the beach.
However, September isn't a stand-alone month. After September comes October, then November and the dark cold days of winter that I dread. September is the nail in summer's coffin, and for this reason I have a love-hate relationship with the entire month. I realize that winter is still officially four months off, but come September, the panicky feeling that winter is just around the corner starts to kick in. The days get shorter and I enter survival mode, hoping I will make it through until the following April when life becomes more bearable again. (Yes, I realize I probably need one of those sun lamps or maybe just to move south - really far south, where there is no winter. Is hibernation an option?)
Anyway, this post isn't about seasonal affective disorder, it's about September, which starts tomorrow. (RIP August. Where did you go?) One of the things I love about September is Back To School. Yes, it's been a long time since I've actually been a student, and no, I have no intention of ever going back to school again (The thought of doing another thesis makes me feel pukey. So does calculus.), but when I was a student, I used to love this time of year. It was a chance to start fresh - a new school year, a new teacher, new friends, new shoes, a new backpack, and most importantly - new pens and notebooks! Yes!
So in the spirit of Back To School, I'm going to use the month of September as an opportunity to start fresh, set goals, and (since I'm not actually in school - sorry, suckas kids) squeeze every last drop out of summer. I'm going make some positive changes and enjoy this month to the maximum:
ENJOY THE MORNINGS.
I know, I know - tried that, failed at it. Remember back in March when I vowed to get up at 8 am every day for 30 days? Yeah, that lasted maybe two days. Just couldn't do it. But I'm going to try again. Miraculously, during my entire week vacationing in New Jersey, I got out of bed between 7 and 8 am every day - to go canoeing, take an early morning walk on the boardwalk with Dad, or just sit on the porch with a bowl of blueberries and a book. It actually felt pretty great to be on the beach in the mornings. Sadly, I don't live at the beach year-round and as soon as I returned to Virginia, I fell back into my old habits of staying up late and sleeping in. (I'm currently typing this at 2 am - looks like I won't be getting up early tomorrow!) My method this time is to plan an enjoyable activity for each morning - something to look forward to and a reason to get out of bed. This will be tougher than it sounds because I'm pretty sure if you offered me a freshly baked caaaaaaaake at 6 am in exchange for getting out of bed, I'd tell you that sleep trumps cake and I'd go back to sleep. Actually, I'm pretty sure if you offered me a million dollars to get out of bed at 6 am, I still wouldn't do it. So I've got my work cut out for me...
Pretty soon it will be time for boots and parkas, so I'm going to make the most out of the sundresses hanging in my closet and wear them every day until it's too cold to do so any longer.
DO SOMETHING OUTSIDE EVERY DAY.
Again, once it's dark/freezing/snowy, I won't be spending time outside, so I'm going to squeeze in some outdoor activities and hopefully get some exercise while the weather is still nice. On the agenda: lots of walks with the pups, yard work, hikes, exploration, outdoor meals, photo walks, and hopefully a kayaking trip.
MAKE EVERY MEAL SPECIAL.
When things get stressful around here, I find myself eating breakfast over the sink, lunch at a table covered with junk mail while reading e-mail on my phone, and dinner in front of the television. Unacceptable. While every meal we eat doesn't need to be gourmet, every meal can be special with good face-to-face conversation, taking the time to enjoy the meal, unplugging, and maybe lighting a candle or two.
I realize I make these goals all the time and quite often I don't follow through, but if at first you don't succeed, try, try again...