A time of change…
August is not a month noted for big national or international celebrations, or federal holidays. But there are still over 50 lesser-known celebrations, some of which are humorous. I’ll share just a few to give you a general idea: According to MentalFloss, August 5th is National Underwear Day, followed on the 6th by National Fresh Breath Day. You can celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day on the 22nd, and on the 24th it’s National Hug Your Boss Day. I’m thinking that many of you won’t find this celebration appealing, unless of course you are the boss!
I suggest we celebrate August as the end-of-the-summer season and our transitioning into fall.
Fall is a special season for me, as it is for many of you. I love the beauty of the fall foliage, the crispness of the fall air. While I enjoy the laid-back, less-structured summer days, there is something about the arrival of fall that is revitalizing. We have had our vacation trip(s), done our outdoor grilling, spent time at the beach or in the mountains, gone camping, and perhaps visited our out-of-town friends and relatives. Some of us may have traveled abroad.
This is the time when children, parents, and teachers begin to gear up for school. August means shopping for school clothes and supplies, for selecting new lunch boxes, and wondering what the new teacher/school will be like. It’s a time when we see some anxiety in both children and their parents. It’s a time when parents make major transitions, changing their own routines, creating a more structured environment for the family, accommodating their children’s study and outside activities needs. Adults who are not parents may also have to adjust to a change in their routine at work and in their personal life, such as starting the morning commute earlier and possibly changing their work schedules to accommodate coworkers with children in school. But summer’s end doesn’t have to be a depressing time. Families can continue in some of their summer activities for a while longer, including cooking out, camping in the backyard, having overnight sleepovers, etc.
My favorite way of looking at August is to let go of some summer activities and begin to anticipate new experiences with the coming of fall. I encourage you to make a self-assessment about what went well during the summer, what you enjoyed most, what didn’t go so well and what you would want to work on improving next time. Then let this go while you eagerly await the fall, accepting the transitions it brings, anticipating the changes in the seasons and in your own life. Fall, like the other seasons, brings opportunities for transformation in our own lives. Integrate this new awareness into your everyday life, and see how it changes your way of being in the world. From this new perspective, decide to add some new adventures to your life as the fall season begins.
For example, learn to play a musical instrument; take up yoga and/or join an exercise class. Find a book club that interests you and sign up. Learn to play bridge or other games. Join a choir. Volunteer some of your time to a community group which is caring for the disadvantaged or feeding the homeless. Plan to do some traveling, if it’s only short trips. Commit to spending more quality time with family and with special friends. Take long walks. Enjoy the glorious fall foliage. Resolve to find more time for nurturing yourself. Embrace the transformation in yourself that the transition of summer into the glorious fall can bring.
If nothing on this list appeals to you, give some careful thought to compiling your own list. There’s no end to the number of possibilities that can help you move forward into the fall with anticipation, enthusiasm, and joy. This in turn will help you to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.