As summer comes to a close, parents and kids alike come face to face with the upcoming school year. Even if we don’t currently have kids in school (or perhaps we never did), we might easily recall the feelings we ourselves may have had about starting a new school year: anticipation, dread, hope, or excitement, to name a few.
When I was growing up, we moved a lot. Almost every September, I was starting over at a new school, often in a different state. I had to meet new kids, figure out how to fit into a new circle of friends, and deal with unfamiliar environments. Needless to say, the start of school — and starting over, year after year — was never something I looked forward to. It was a stressful, dreaded experience.
As an adult, I’ve arranged my life so that I don’t have to "start over” that way any more. I’ve placed a high premium on stability and keeping things the same. There’s much to be said for stability, of course, but I also know that this unwillingness to “start over” — to try something new — has surely made my life smaller at times.
For the past several years, every New Year’s Day, I’ve picked one or more “words” of the year… I use these words as my theme for the year. This year my words are: Change It Up. I’m finding myself looking for opportunities to do something different in my life, whether it’s as simple as driving to work using a different route, or something a bit more significant, such as the running group I joined this summer.
I feel that every time I make a choice to change it up, it’s teaching myself that it’s actually OK to start over and try something new, and that I can embrace change instead of dreading it.
As we head into the fall season, with new schedules and new activities, it’s the perfect time to look for ways to start over and change it up a bit— maybe try a new and unfamiliar activity, or instead, think about cutting something out of your over-crowded schedule to allow yourself more down time.
Who knows what good things are in store for you or where you might end up, simply by being open to change and starting over!