I’m thinking about my carefree 12-year old self this Labor Day weekend and feeling a bit of adult melancholy. What happened to those empty summer days we had ahead of us just three months ago? So many plans – dreams of pool-side drinks and long hikes and naps dancing in my head.
But now, it’s all over. My head is full of phrases like, “You better get busy” and a slight sense of dread.
Labor Day might be bringing up these feelings for you, too. There’s an emotional calendar to our lives and maybe, like me, you remember today as the day before school started.
The barefoot feet, black on the bottom from walking outside all day every day, the endless games of kick-the-can played until dark, sleepovers at my girlfriend’s house up the street where we stayed up past midnight and snacked on homemade potato chips made by her Supermom.
Alarms are set for 6:30 A!M! and bag lunches are made the night before.
Oh boy, the fun is definitely over.
The Blank Page
But there were also aspects to this time of year that elicited in me a sense of excitement. Remember getting brand-new spiral notebooks? The pages empty, the red or blue or orange cover pristine – oh, the promise of all that would fill those pages in the coming school year.
Sometimes, the new school year would bring something new to my wardrobe. Even if it was just a crisp white blouse to complete my parochial grade school uniform, it still felt like a fresh beginning.
In my high school years, this time of year was the start of football season and that meant cheerleading practice and polished saddle shoes and pulling out the clean wool sweater with the big “M” (Murray High School) that had been packed away months ago at the end of last season.
And volleyball with a great coach who believed in us and who taught us that with practice and endurance and a positive attitude, we could go far.
In college, the fall meant a new dorm room freshman year, a new apartment sophomore/junior year and a big two-story farmhouse we rented not far campus my senior year. I gained not only a good dose of how to be independent, but some amazing roommates. To this day, when we get together, we can pick up right where we left off.
After graduating from college, the day after Labor Day was the day I drove to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of being a professional actress. I can still see my Mom standing in the kitchen of the house I grew up in, hugging me goodbye before she headed off for work. And then jumping in my car for the five day trek across country. Not knowing a soul.
There’s not a lot of need for spiral notebooks in my life right now, but I am prepping to direct a play that I am really excited about (a little on that here). And I’m thrilled to be working with my writing partner on a screenplay with two funny/strong female characters.
I still love a crisp white button-down.
Homemade potato chips are not in my diet, but I still love the adult version of sleepovers with a group of women I adore.
And I will definitely put those cheering skills to use with the beginning of pro football season and my beloved and heartbreaking Minnesota Vikings. (More on that in my previous post.)
So, I’m going to take that shadow of dread that the end of summer has produced, and allow the fall breeze to push it away. (Even in California, there’s a slight change in the weather).
This last day of summer, instead of thinking, “I better get busy,” I’m going to be present, right here, right now. I’m going to cultivate excitement for all the amazing possibilities that lie ahead.
And I hope you can do the same.
Happy Labor Day.
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