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Rockin’ into September

By Lori Welch Brown 

There are LOADS of reasons to celebrate this month. First—it’s my birthday. Even though I have approached the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ stage of life, I am still 1000 percent on board for celebrating. “Bring on the cake,” I say, and then I silently pray it’s German chocolate.

Second, it’s mine and XXL’s wedding anniversary (No. 9). Upon doing some research aka a quick Google search, I’ve discovered that the traditional gift for year nine is pottery. “Made of clay, pottery is carefully molded into something of great beauty and lasting presence,” per  “A modern alternative would be leather. A strong, durable, and enduring material that can also be quite flexible, and only gets better with age.” Leather it is! I do like to think we are getting better with age, and flexibility is the key to life as well as a happy marriage.

Lastly, and perhaps most excitedly, it’s back-to-school month!

Okay—that’s not actually true. Somehow, against all rules of nature, August has become back-to-school month. What the bloody H-E-double-toothpicks?! How is that possible? Well—since we’ve pushed Halloween to March, I guess it only makes some sense in some alternate universe.

But, I’m a Gen X’er and for me, back-to-school month will forever be September. It just makes sense. Summer isn’t over until after Labor Day. Actually, scratch that. Summer isn’t over until the U.S. Naval Observatory says it’s over, and this year in the Northern hemisphere the fall equinox arrives on September 23, marking the end of summer.

So stop rushing things. September is our ‘tween month when we get to have our cake (German chocolate, please) and eat it too. We can still enjoy some pool time, and if we’re lucky dig into our closets for a crisp leather jacket. Y’all know how much I love my jackets and boots!

September isn’t about saying goodbye to summer—it’s about refocusing our play and re-engaging our sense of wonder as we head into fall. It’s not just back-to-school, it’s back-to-nature with some hikes through the beautiful Virginia countryside. Maybe it’s a picnic along the Potomac or a brisk morning walk up the trail from Mt. Vernon.

Like January, September brings us a fresh slate—a new term or semester in which to hunker down and focus on learning. It’s a new classroom, a new subject, a new book. Newness abounds. I can practically smell those No. 2 pencils. Be still my heart.

It’s also a time for community. A time to come together—inside the classroom and out—to reacquaint ourselves with old friends and embrace new ones. For kids, this is a natural course of action. For adults, perhaps we push ourselves to attend a new yoga class or register for an extended learning course, and make a new friend in the process.

Personally speaking, I’m looking forward to rejoining my classmates at the Art League in Alexandria. I took the summer semester off, and I can’t wait to grab my brushes and canvases and see what new things I can learn. Even this old dog can learn some new tricks. You’re also never to old to pick up a new hobby and/or dust off an old passion.

While the heat and oppressive humidity of August left me feeling tired and cranky, September uplifts me. September reminds me that change is in the air—literally and figuratively. A new season is always just around the corner. I love it when you walk outside that first time and head back in, realizing you need a sweater layer. The air has a slight chill to it, and it’s exhilarating.

You know what else is exhilarating? Being able to appreciate the beauty of all those yellow school buses lined up without the anxiety of a pending exam or algebra quiz. There may be something to be said for middle-age—no more pop quizzes, tardy notices, or locker combos to remember. I can’t remember what I had for lunch so God knows I’d never be able to keep that in my head. One of my recurring nightmares is standing at my locker, unable to open it, while my high school algebra teacher is trying to pull me back to class for a quiz. Panic attack central. For those of you who don’t think math is traumatizing, I beg to differ.

While I’m busy celebrating the September in all her grandeur, I’m also going to hunker down on a few personal goals that I may have let slide this summer. More ice cream, anyone? No regrets and no apologies, but it’s time to double down and re-focus. While I’m at it, I may even change up my wardrobe. Who says I can’t take advantage of the back-to-school sales? Oh, wait. Those bargain days were in August.

About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 25 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.

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