I’m looking at you September

As usual, we’re at the tail end of summer and I’m resisting the transition to fall. I’ve been successful so far at battling back black thoughts about winter and snow and the return of dark days and icy sidewalks. But, I’m a little nervous as I face coming to terms with the return of a full calendar and an externally-imposed schedule. Every year I ask myself, Am I ready?

I work all summer long, but I write, teach, and grade from home, which means I can work entirely at my own pace. By now, I’ve gotten accustomed to my long sunny days being punctuated with extended dog walks, trips to the pool, and mid-afternoon ice-cream breaks when I pick up VA from camp. I look forward to visits with extended family and weekend jaunts to the beach. I can wear shorts and flip flops every single day. All of that comes to a needle-on-the-record halt in September. September signifies the return to our actual lives, which for my family, mostly means school. And not just Virginia’s school, but mine and Josh’s as well. I actually have to show up and teach classes certain days of the week. And I can’t go in my running clothes. Virginia needs to be awake, fed, dressed, and on a bus by 7:40 every morning. In September, Virginia’s sports come back full throttle, too. That means picking up and dropping her off to gymnastics and soccer practice four nights a week. Weekends are dominated by games and meets. Once you throw in holidays and staying on top of my writing, I can safely say we are solid busy through next spring.

The thing is, as I grit my teeth and turn the page of the calendar from our lazy August to September’s starting line, I have to remember I love a schedule. I adore deadlines. When things loosen up around here in June, I go through a similar panicky transition and get nervous about letting go of all of our activities, making up a schedule for myself where I carefully compartmentalize my day into exercise, writing, grading, and shuttling VA around. By 6 o’clock, I’m ready for some lazy time. But the rigidness of my plan begins to erode in July, and after a summer of plenty of sun and fun, I’ve given myself permission to spend an entire Sunday afternoon reading on my porch. Or splashing around with VA and Josh at the pool. And you know what? That’s nice too. So am I ready? Am I ready? After a summer “de-scheduling,” I can say I’m well-rested and ready to take on what’s coming next. Bring it, September.