old and new beginnings

September: sweater weather and sharpened pencils. I think I’ve written everywhere I write about the magic of early fall and the back to school feeling that goes with it, the vibrance of the changing leaves that signify the coming chill, the relief that comes with routine.

This year is the same as ever. The leaves are yellow and gold and red around the edges, but still mostly green. The grass still needs cutting and the temperatures are still downright balmy, at least today. The school routine was exciting for a couple of days, then exhausting. My youngest daughter is in all-day school for the first time and she is tired. Life is an ongoing litany of get dressed, put on a sweater, where are your rubber boots, pack your lunch, feed the cat, unpack your lunchbox, sign this form, do your home reading, practice piano, make supper, clean up, go to bed, start again.

And this year I’ve returned to school as well, so I need to remind myself to pack my books and do my reading and leave for school on time. I started with one plan, heavy on the science and stressful, and suddenly did an about-face and returned to the humanities, where I am comfortable. I am going to go to library school, I hope, but the plan is still open. For now I’m readjusting to school. Everyone here is so young, so convinced of their own rightness, so similar to my children. If I think of myself through their eyes I know I’m the weird old person who takes everything in class so seriously and then disappears until the next one. I’m old, I’m different, I’m not like them. But I was them, once. I half-assed my classes but was confident in my rightness.

I am still myself, of course. I’m going to try to keep writing my novels on top of my coursework, and my job, and the kids, and everything. This year, like every year, I’m convinced that I will get it right, I will find the magic routine, become the ideal human. Of course I won’t. I will scramble and flail and screw up like I always do. But I’ll grow a bit, and learn a bit, and keep persevering. I’ve come to learn that I have a hard time giving up, and I’m fairly certain that’s not a bad thing.

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