Even with its humidity, sunburn, fried out lawns, and bugs, I’m a summer junky. I love hot days, warm nights, cherries, watermelon, swimming, parks, beaches, baseball, ice cream, ice pops, water ice, the sun setting at like 9 o’clock. (I could go on…) Because of this summer lovin’, the arrival of Labor Day, and its symbolic shuttering of another summer, usually fills me with dread. Even the scent of a slight chill on a late summer morning is enough to derail my early August optimism.
Until this year.
I’ve been listening to a great podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and in a recent episode, she and her co-host (her sister, which I love) talked about how this time of year — the start of the school year — is the perfect time to begin making changes in your life and life’s work. They spoke of wiping your slate clean, finding one word or phrase as your theme for the year, and then getting started on next year’s goals well in advance of January 1st. For me, someone who clings to the current year, mosquitos and all, and gets melancholy at the sight of school busses, this simple concept was a game changer.
By the time January rolls around, we emerge from the busy fourth quarter and the holidaze only to head directly into trade show season. Next thing you know, you look up, and you’re knee-deep in February, with March barreling down the horizon like the Roadrunner. Meep, meep!
There’s no reason to wait until January 1st to embrace your clean slate. What steps can you take today to improve the rest of this year and jumpstart next year?
While I will continue to wear flip-flops long after it’s reasonable, boycott pumpkin beer until late October, and cry the day the clocks get turned back, I am ditching the despair. It’s not enough to simply accept that winter is coming. I have to embrace it. And I am. Ned Stark would be proud.