I read somewhere once that “September is the new January.” Simple. Cute. So trite. Then I saw it again right before Labor Day weekend. Funny how sometimes you get hit by something at the right place-right time.
I know I’m late to the party on this concept. Historically, I have spent so much time grasping at the last rays of summer that I never saw, or allowed myself to see, the possibility of using “back-to-school” as a time to reframe, reset, refresh, reboot. Instead of planning, I would be lamenting. Or hiding. You see, my birthday falls right in there, (it was last week, actually) and I usually get all weird and introspective and try to hide behind a chair so no one looks at me or talks about it.
But, like I’ve been saying. Not this time around. Nope. Why??? Oh, I think you know why. Because: WE. SHOW. UP.
With the dawn of a new school year and a new life year, this time I am going to force myself to embrace a fresh start. To see this as a time to tighten the reigns, to establish some structure, and to dive back into the hard work of making myself a better person, my family a more cohesive unit and this life better than before.
The biggest change this fall is that I am no longer going to be at home with a child. Both boys are off to school at 7:30 sharp each morning. I feel a mix of elation and grief when I type that.
So, with that change, I’m hoping for a snowball effect. I feel ready to reign in the lazy, hazy habits of summer and chart a course for success. After all, I’m a Virgo. And Virgos loooooove their routines, order, control.
On the way home from the beach, we came up with some resolutions. Here they are.
SCHOOL YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Nourish our bodies. Watch out skinny jeans, we’re back to clean eating. In fact, we’re trying a service called Prep Dish which is paleo (or gluten-free, you choose) meal planning with grocery lists. The catch: you do all the shopping and the prep (think chopping, sauces, soups, etc.) on the weekend and then it’s heat n’ eat all week long. We’re sincerely hoping that this will be a fool-proof way to watch calories, eat nutrient-dense food and, above all, grant us some time back in the evening. We’re also going to double down on our water intake.
Move our bodies. After a summer of fits and starts in terms of workouts, we’ve both committed to jogging in the morning every single day and then doing some yoga or lifting. When we can, we jog together and without headphones. This allows us to get some fresh air and be alone with our thoughts or talk things through, depending on our moods. I can’t say enough how much working out with your partner can bring you closer mentally and physically.
Rest our bodies. We are serial sleep skimpers – often sliding by on less than 6 hours. But, if we can get dinner on the table earlier, we hope to find more time to spend with the kids, each other, our Kindles and ultimately our pillows. So far, so great. Eating before nine is a huge upgrade in terms of the flow of our evenings.
Establish balanced routines that work. For years, one of us would sleep in while the other tackled “all things morning.” Who got up flip-flopped based on where we were with health, employment or just general interest in running the ship. But this year, with two kids to get out the door by 7:20 we decided to divide and conquer. We’re up just before six and share the morning chores of getting both the cats and kids fed, making our smoothies and coffee or tea, prepping the lunches, packing the backpacks, etc. In the evenings, I tackle bath and bedtime while Adrian (our home chef) gets dinner together. Actually, with Prep Dish, maybe we’ll even start to take turns on dinner!
Work with the kids, not for or against them. Too often, we find ourselves in the role of short-order cook or “the fun police.” Recently, we’ve been working with the kids to establish some ground rules for drama-free mealtimes and bedtime. They have totally loved contributing to the “house rules” and they love being the tiny enforcers. It keeps us from having to be the bad guy all the time and the kids feel a real sense of citizenship and community.
Connect with friends. At a certain age, the only way to weather the things life throws at you is to hang on tight to your friends. We were out of town so much this summer, we sure missed a lot of barbecues and QT with our favorite people. We’ve also had our home so upside-down in our efforts to get minimal the last six months that we haven’t dared to have anyone over to see our mess. But what’s that my friend Clara always says, “Your mess is your message?” So…I’m diving in to socializing. I’ve got a full calendar this week: a coffee date, a dinner out, a girls’ night in (at my messy house) over the weekend.
Tidy up. Enough has been said about this topic in mainstream media that I don’t need to drill down it. But a year after our “minimalist” epiphany, we are still drowning in stuff. Sometimes I think it will take a big move or repainting the entire house (not off the table) to get us to where we need to be, but we remain committed.
I’m a little concerned that October is the new February, but that remains to be seen. Give me some credit, why don’t ya?
Photo context: My actual clean-eating birthday cake. We all sat outside slurping on our slices. (iPhone)