Happy Fake-o New Year!

Several blogs that I frequent have recently included posts about the bittersweet nature of back-to-school time. The moms behind Little Birds and House on Hill Road (along with my sister, Maryanne, a non-blogger) have shared their simultaneous feelings of excitement for their children's learning and growth, their happiness to have a little free time of their own, and their sadness at seeing their babies growing up and growing more independent with each day. I, on the other hand, have almost the opposite reaction to the beginning of the school year. Next week, my amazing summer - the best summer I've had as an adult - comes to a screeching halt. My free time flies out the window. Next week, I return to my classroom (a third grade classroom this year) to prepare it for the students who will arrive just after Labor Day. While I am certainly excited to meet my new students and to start off a fresh school year, I am really going to miss the freedom I had this summer (and, yes, I'm a bit apprehensive about returning to the hectic nature of the public school in the South Bronx where I work). I've been thinking a lot about what made this summer so much better than the previous seven (the number of work-free summers I've been lucky enough to have so far), and I've come up with this list of things that brought me satisfaction on a regular basis this time around:
1. Running every day
2. Riding my bike
3. Making jewelry frequently
4. Trying out new crafts, especially those that require the use of my sewing machine
5. Revisiting my day's activities and thoughts by means of posting on this blog
6. Reading others' blogs
7. Cooking tasty meals (okay, I did a little of that before this summer)
8. Tending to our window box
9. Thrift store shopping (fine, I did that before, too)
10. Strolling through my neighborhood with no destination in particular
11. Reading books that Barry recommended
All of these activities are so simple, but they have brought me immeasurable pleasure over the past two months. During the school year, I usually get so wrapped up in fiddling in my classroom after school, working on lesson plans, trying to come up with creative projects for my students, editing students' work, calling parents, stressing about some of my students' home lives, etc. that I let those things that bring me joy fall to the wayside. So, my fake-o new year's resolution is to pay more attention during the school year to those things that bring me such happiness. Hopefully, a little of that happiness will have an effect on the person I am in the classroom, too. No matter which side of the back-to-school fence you're on, happy back-to-school, everybody! So long summer (sniff, sniff).


connie said...

that is a very apt resolution for the end of summer and the start of school, in fact i promised myself to also do everyday some little things that make me happy
...being new to the whole grad school thing who knows how many of those little things i'll be able to do... but we can both try!

Melissa said...

aw...I'm so depressed! But your resolution is a good one. Let's try to save some of that summer spirit for the dark depths of the school year, when we need it most.

cynic the lamb said...

I hear ya. The fall has always felt like a time for new beginnings for me, much more so than the actual new year. Just remember to keep doing the things you love. Your time may be limited once the school year starts, but it is still your time to manage as you like. The sense of fulfillment that comes from that does carry over into other parts of your life, and it will make the school year more tolerable.
I admit, I'm freaking out myself at the thought of going back to work once we move. Although, to be fair, I think my biggest fear is of falling back into the rut of the art-slave. I'm hoping I can really get out of that but afraid that I can't do more. Anyway, enough about that....
Happy fake-o new year! Hope the school year is one of your best and that you can make the time for yourself.

erin said...

as a kid, i always loved fall and was so anxious for school to start. as an adult, it has the same appeal, but it is bittersweet. i just realized that my daughter is beginning her "own" life - that i am not there to help and guide. it is exciting and scary. the flip side is that i, too, am beginning a new phase in my life - exciting and scary, too.