Folks, it’s true….September is upon us!! Just after getting children back to school the Holidays loom large – September even starts with a Holiday for Pete’s sake.
(Happy Labor Day, by the way – what are you doing to celebrate?)
The calendar, like the scale, doesn’t lie.
Embrace it or perish!!!
That’s a little dramatic, but if not literally true, it’s true enough. When stores sweep away the back to school goods in early August to make room for Halloween and pumpkin spice everything you know you’re awash in the trap I mean joys of American consumerism, though nary a golden leaf has dropped, nor a temperature below 95F has presented itself for your relief.
So, what to do with September, especially if one is a Southerner (possibly a Californian)? If one can ignore the protracted grasp of summer, like scorched gardens contrasted with tropical storms, and pools and lake swimming areas prematurely closing while the Costco parking lot appears as an undulating asphalt mirage, it’s a great time to do great things. Really, it is – stay with me….
September is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the Holiday game, and to start a New Year without the burden of the Holidays on top of it all. And do most of it in the singular bliss of air-conditioning. I wrote a long while back about my New Year’s calendar not even starting until February. That worked better for my family than trying to cram our whole life plan into January, but it was still not entirely user-friendly for us and usually ended in unmet goals and a lot of aggravation. So, against my nature (rebel, though true to form, according to this model, I resent the label), I convinced myself that it was my idea to move the annual reset back to September 1.
Here’s how we’re rolling out our (almost) Autumn-onto-Winter season:
- Scheduling of Dr’s appointments, routine and specialists, that have been overlooked or put off during the course of the year – I’m known to be provincial regarding all these new fangled medicinal practices. I’m uncomfortable with multiple elective exposures to radiation and dyes, etc., but keeping up with baseline physical health markers is very important, and we have the means, and no reasons not to keep up with those (this year it’s a must for me)
- Cleaning out the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, and replacing lazy summer snacks with healthy foods for brain and body, easy to prep and serve – making sure our diet is healthful and aligned with our physical health goals, and it doesn’t hurt aligning our food choices with our social values. We’re also taking advantage of pre-season sales to supply our pantry and contributions to food drives and charitable needs
- Checking in on everyone’s emotional/social well being – hey, fam – how are you??? Starting with our immediate family, and reaching out to check on our extended family, and friends, and acquaintances…(did you watch Dave Chapelle’s new special? The first few minutes are worth it, even if he’s not your cup of tea. And if he is your idea of funny, it’s a terrific couple of hours of cringing and belly laughs)
- Decide what we’re going to do to move our bodies and get it on the calendar – it’s so damned hot during the summer months it’s easy to let ourselves slack off of physical activity – it’s counter-intuitive, but the nicer the days around here the less likely we’re outside. A little tropical depression makes for a good time to get back in shape, so we’re planning for that
- Make and update work connections, send out a few CV’s, develop prospective clients. Everyone is coming back from vacation, evaluating the fresh fiscal year, and looking to get new hires and position retention secured. Now is a great time to explore career opportunities and set right things that have been put off kilter, professionally
- Evaluate our mental diets. I’m not mad at TV, in fact I love good television programming. I enjoy an average novel with a decent story line. We binge watch a lot of good shows over the summer, and take time for books we might not otherwise read just for the fun of them, but we also take in a lot of peripheral crapola just because it’s there. September presents an organic constriction of available hours to consume the unnecessary, so it’s ideal for a hard intellectual reset
- Getting back in the religious swing of things. Summer in and of itself is very spiritual – the heat, the fun with friends, the separate nature of the season from the “usual”. Still, I’m an advocate for orthopraxy – there, I said it – I believe the practice informs the spirit for a lot of us, rather than the other way around. For me, the individual nature of spiritualism is a complete derailment of the purpose of worshiping together – September is a fitting prompt for reengaging with religious community
- Defining financial goals – wow, this is sticky – we’re historically terrible with this one. It’s uncomfortable and very difficult for us to have productive conversations about money. Not our best moments of adulting, but based on sheer necessity and the fact we’re facing down a burden of fresh expenses I’m hopeful for our ingenuity this year
- We’ve never, ever been on a vacation as a family, just the five of us. This will change this coming year, no matter what. We are privileged First World creatures, I realize, and we have a hermit-like love for our home base – but recreation and celebration are legitimate God-given concerns of all people, and I am determined that my children will have at least one memory of us together, away, someplace interesting and outside our cultural comfort zone
- Give as much as we can, and more – meaning finding ways of giving that don’t seem possible but really are given a change of perspective. Mental and spiritual work to do on that one…
So – there it is. What I suppose is our list of New Year’s resolutions, born of September.
How is your September doing, friends?
With love and optimism,
PS This is the article that got me hooked on the idea of a different sort of new year
PPS If you think Dave Chapelle was making fun or light of Anthony Bourdain‘s death, he wasn’t. Watch again with an open heart for what’s being said (I wish I could excerpt it here but can’t figure out how). It was a poignant reflection on a very difficult to understand loss of a celebrity contemporary.
PPPS Tropical storms are not to be trifled with – don’t tarry if you need to evacuate, please!!!