Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Clothes and Resolutions

Happy New Year! No, I haven’t lost track of the calendar. Here on Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast, it is as hot and steamy as you could want an August to be. We all scurry to work before the sun is fully up and wait til twilight to head home, because being out in the midday sun is a little too much like being in a sauna with your clothes on. But I still want to wish you a Happy New Year.

See, after more years than I want to remember as a student and a worker bee in the public education system, I know when the REAL beginning of the year is. Not the bleak midwinter, when we are all stuffed with sugarplums and wassail. Nope, for me, the time for new starts and resolutions is the end of August, when the kids head back to school and the world buckles down to work.

Since my oldest daughter started prekindergarten those many years ago, the day before school starting has always been a little like New Year’s Eve – Out with the old and in with the new. We stack the pristine notebook paper and folders on the counter next to textbooks full of mysterious facts to be learned. I make sandwiches and bag fruit to go in the lunch carrier of choice. (For years that was a plastic box with the cartoon character du jour on it; now it is more likely to be a pricey Vera Bradley insulated bag, but the idea is the same.) And for what seems like the first time all summer, we have a family dinner, with no one MIA at a friend’s house and none of the girls’ various friends and boyfriends in attendance. After supper, the girls and I will wash hair, give each other mani-pedi’s, and lay out the outfit chosen to make a perfect first impression.

And on the first morning of school, we will go in to school and work, eager to move on with the year. What will it bring? There will be triumphs and tragedies, success and sorrow. But it all lies before us, a full year of possibilities.

So in that spirit, I’d like to encourage you to make your New Year’s resolutions. Start off the year with your goals in mind. After all, if you don’t have a destination in mind, it’s hard to get there! We can always amend our goals and plans along the way, but I need to start the year with some idea where I want to be at the end of it.

I’m going to commit myself to more discipline in my writing this year. I’ve found that if I can get myself to start, I can churn out a pretty consistent word count every day. But it is the darn starting that gives me trouble. So my resolution is to write at least 100 words everyday.

That sounds like nothing, right? Not even a page. But here’s the secret – if I get 100 words down, I’m very likely to go into the hundreds or thousands. My problem is making myself get with it – to get the first sentence on the page. I’m hoping that if I tell myself I only have to do 100, I can trick myself into finishing the several books I have up in my head.

What about you? Go wash your hair, get your mani-pedi (or whatever makes you feel ready to go) and pick out your clothes. Make your resolutions and let’s start the New Year right!~!!!


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I'm with you. Getting the kids back into their routine helps you do the same. Mine are middle aged and we live in a very hot sticky climate. But tomorrow, all the little screamers will be out of the grocery stores and in school. We can settle into our "real lives."

Fall, regardless of weather, is a new beginning. Happy New Year to your, too.

January Bain said...

Right on! Today feels like exactly the kind of day you posted about. The time of new beginnings and endless possibilities!
Happy New Year!

Allison said...

Oh, I so remember those days. But, I'll agree, even though it's been years since I faced the first day of school, (in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey - yep, taught in all those places and it was the first Monday after Labor Day) this time of the year always feels like the beginning. So, Happy New Year to you, and may you meet all your goals for the year.