Back to School, Finally

I feel almost guilty writing these words, but the return to school can’t come soon enough.

I mean, I adore my kids – one of my biggest goals in life was to become a mother and I feel incredibly lucky to be the mother of these exquisite, interesting children.

But I’m also a woman who loves the work I do and loves my time alone. There. I said it. And I bet a million other mothers know how I’m feeling at this very moment.

It doesn’t make me a bad mother to be glad my children are getting back to school the week after next, and on a regular schedule. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them.

It means that every single person on this planet needs their individual purpose and perspective and really, to immerse in it each and every day. It’s like the instructions on an airplane before takeoff: affix your own oxygen mask before helping your child.

It’s not selfish. It’s life-saving.

Next week will be mired in school-supply-shopping, middle-school picture-taking, calling friends to see who’s in what class and making sure everyone has the right clothes, shoes, water bottles, etc. I’ve told Asher and Eliana that this year, they will start packing their own lunches. One step closer to independence.

What’s the back-to-school equivalent for adults?

Vacation ending? Finishing a degree program and beginning work? Switching from one job to the next? Or is it simply every Sunday night, when you look ahead to your week and realize you can’t sleep in and you have to find time to exercise?

For us, is there a built-in disappointment or very large sigh with the concept of our own back-to-school? Routine resumes, anything-goes ends?

Or, is there a way that we could view this back-to-school malaise differently?

Like, what if every day had an anything-goes air about it, and we embraced the path we’re on, inserting little moments of splendid in every single day? That’s how I try to live.

But as I write this, I realize that even with my first words above, I’m not really walking the walk. What a gift to write this and see it unfold around me, that I am back in the good vs. bad mentality when I seek to live on a higher plane! Thank you, God, for the wisdom as I type! Thank you world for another opportunity to discover what’s True!

And you don’t have to work for yourself to claim your time as your own, either. First off, you can change jobs if you’re miserable. Nothing is standing in your way but you. And if you love the work you do, then why wouldn’t you look at every day as a gift?

In between my very important work, I fit moments of dabbling in the outdoors, communion with the earth and nature, yoga before I get to the office or a moonlit stroll with the man I love. Sometimes it’s as easy as a frozen yogurt in the middle of the afternoon just because you can.

When I went freelance in 1998, I wanted to be able to know what the day was like (so many offices had windows that didn’t open) and I wanted the freedom to be able to go to a matinee movie if I pleased.

The first year out, I worked from 7 am until 11 pm in my little Ferndale flat. I went outside…occasionally. One fall afternoon, I roller-bladed at Stoney Creek Metropark.

No movies. No frolicking in the grass most days. Work, work, work – but I could see the sun. I could carry my coffee mug to the enclosed porch and watch the steam swirl on an early winter morning. I could meet a friend for drinks, even if I resumed working when I returned home that night. (Sometimes the best writing comes under influence…another blog perhaps.)

I still worked a ton. The difference was in how I looked at it. I loved my life.

My life wasn’t bad before then, but I didn’t feel like I owned it. I never even had bad bosses. It was just a difference of perception.

So it’s that easy. Change how you look at things. Then back-to-school doesn’t have to be good or bad. It’s just another day on the path of a beautiful life.

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