Why should New Year’s be the only designated time to stop and look at where we want to go and how we want to get there? It’s one of the few calendar dates when it’s acceptable to look back to the point of regret, and look forward with plans too detailed for a mere human to complete.
I think September deserves more respect. Kids’ backpacks crammed with textbooks and foot traffic near noisy campuses can make any adult wistful for a sense of self-purpose and clear goals.
What I also know for sure is that some women who never chose to be a NotMom can feel sadness during back-to-school season because there will never be a young student in their house. Every now and then, the thought of it can rock them to their knees.
I say, for whatever your personal reasons may be, why not have a September focus on back-to-YOU?
You don’t have to be a Mom to be happy about kids going back to school. Ads for notebooks, lunchbox meals and locker decorations aren’t at saturation level in every form of media, for one thing. What’s also true is that you don’t have to be a student to feel excited in autumn because it means you’re starting something new.
The ‘first day of school’ is like the first day of the year: a time for action, growth and renewal. Buy a new notebook (how could you not?) and write just one thing you want in your life that’s not there now. You can add all the steps it’ll take to get there if you choose, but I suggest writing just one small action that’s almost in reach that will move you forward. One itty-bitty action you’re going to take for a better life. “Better” because you said so, and put your focus on “Next.”
Get some scissors and magazines and visualize your dreams on a vision board. Basically, you clip words, phrases and pictures or find photos online of what you want to manifest in your life. Then, tape or paste them to a piece of heavy paper. Life coach Martha Beck gives a great explanation of how to make one.
For more detailed life-mapping, Martha suggests an island chain to reveal where you are, where you want to be, what you want to leave behind, and how you’re going to make change happen. It’s a longer process, with the intensity required for real self-examination.
If you’re more the ‘short and to the point’ type of girl, Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg says she can sum up the message of her best-seller with this question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Post a photo of your answer on a Tumblr devoted to the question if you like, just know that her advice is that once you know what you’re afraid of, you need to do something about it.