Today is the last day of summer break for me. I can remember as a kid the last day of summer break meant chores and a reinstated early bedtime. The clothes we had purchased weeks before from JC Penney had been sequestered into a separate location in the closet preparing for their debut would finally make their way into my dresser. Sorting through the bags, carefully choosing a first day outfit and laying it out before bed was a ritual of sorts that just increased my excitement for the impending school year. In the late summer heat, I can remember not sleeping with anticipation of all that would come in the next nine months. I had a longing for the return to routine while equally lamenting the loss of lazy summer days and being outside. Not much has changed. I sit this morning on my porch sipping coffee and thinking about all the things I still wanted to accomplish this summer and distracted by the long list of tasks I need to complete before the cherubs return to the halls of our fine school.
A new school year provides a new beginning, a fresh start. New school clothes, shiny shoes, and fresh lunchboxes usher in a hopefulness that this year can be the best yet. It is a time to set the stage for reaching new goals and measuring growth. It feels as though anything is possible. Hope is abundant at times like these and we all need more hope. It seems that hope is a commodity of great value that gets swallowed up by the pace of our lives. The overwhelming stream of information that surrounds us is like drinking from a firehose. This leaves us with no mental space to process it all, let alone to pause and take notice of transitions. The endings and beginnings seems to blend together, if we do not take a moment to block out the noise of the continuous flow of communications.
Rituals can help us to push pause on the noise. Most people have rituals around holidays, birthdays or even sports event. Rituals can enrich our time spent with friends and family. Creating rituals or traditions creates margin for connection with each other if done properly. Rituals can get out of hand or become empty and obligatory. That is not what I am advocating. The first day of school ritual of a pancake breakfast or a pizza dinner with the family can be a rich time to connect and mark time. It is the way we can block out the noise of our culture and love one another intentionally. We can reminisce and dream together. I had these kinds of rituals with my son as he grew up and now as I forge an encore life with Mr. Wonderful and Mr Wonderful Jr. I am searching to create a new blend of rituals.
So today, I search for a new outfit for the first day, set my alarm and pack my lunch for tomorrow. Happy school year everyone!
When are the natural pauses or transitions in your calendar? What rituals keep you connected in your family?
*I am still collecting your ideas to live beautifully exhausted for an upcoming post. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org