I’ve always loved September. As a kid, it meant the start of school, yes, but also a promised end of the heat, a new year, freshly pressed uniforms, and brand new Buster Browns.
In high school it meant choosing your crush for the upcoming year, deciding what new outfit you were wearing on the first day, and organizing your Trapper Keeper. But, come to think of it, that last Type-A excitement might have been mine alone.
In college, it was back to the ‘suite’ life – watching the new fall television pilots, crawling to football games, laughing for about 16 hours a day, and keeping your door open, encouraging all visitors to distract you from Milton.
But every year, no matter your age, the blank notebooks and new clothes meant a fresh start, a slate unblemished by any poor grades, worries, fights with friends, forgotten homework… any bad decisions. We were all white as snow. We hadn’t screwed up yet.
In a matter of days, the “yellow limousines” as my mother calls them, will be seen up and down our streets, touting kids of all ages. Right now, college freshman are decorating their dorm rooms, sizing up their roommates, and saying their goodbyes.
There isn’t a person I know who doesn’t love fall – the crispness, the foliage, the U.S. Open, the football (I mean, is Hardknocks not one of the best shows on tv?)…but I think, even though we are not in school, the idea of renewal resonates with all of us. It’s the close of one door and the opening of another.
Today, I met with my professor of my last semester’s favorite class Me, Inc, an extremely respected life and career coach / consultant at some major Fortune 500 companies. A few weeks ago, after I mailed him my last MBA paper ever, he asked if I was interested in discussing it with him. Grades had been tallied, so my immediate reaction was to think that maybe the forty page monologue about my recent bruises and scrapes, changed plans and distant hopes was a bit more than he bargained for – and he was plain old worried about me. He probably wanted to check my wrists for wear and tear and ensure that I wasn’t inhaling Prozac like Pez. I was a charity case…pro bono work, one that needed his services to get me on the straight and narrow and right quick.
As you can see, my first reaction is to always throw myself under the bus. But thankfully, my second reaction was to acknowledge what a gift this was, to have this distinguished professional take time out of his schedule to counsel me about my life and career goals and direction. So today, over burgers, we went through my paper. He said that once every few years, one paper resonates with him, and mine was it (this is me, lifting up the wheels of the bus that I threw my body under).
I have many more of his highlighted notes to read through, but I walked away newly inspired to follow my path… and realize my value to this world and the people I know (and hopefully the people I don’t as well). His goal, now that my written assignment was over, was for me to understand what I had written…that they were never just words on a page, but my heart and soul in Microsoft Word…to now take it to the action stage and turn my strengths into my passion. He had such positivity and certainty that I was going to not only turn out just fine, but be WAY more than fine…it made me start to think so, too.
I know I have many people in my life who believe in me. But sometimes it takes your words to be literally highlighted by another to make you realize that what you have to say is important..valid…true….
To me, today absolutely felt like the first of September. A sense of change in the air, a clean slate, and the promise of a new beginning.