Changing Leaves and New Pencils

Let the new school year be a fresh start for you, too.

When I was a kid, the back-to-school shopping trip didn’t just mean new mechanical pencils and color-coded folders. It was a sign that a fresh start was coming.

Now that I have school-aged kids, I’ve gotten nostalgic for that time when the first-day-of-school outfit may as well have been a super hero cape.

Here’s how I’m bringing back that feeling:

Buy new clothes. In a middle-school, first-day picture, I’m posing next to an apple tree in new orangey-peach shorts and matching t-shirt. I’m beaming with my gawky braces grin. Despite the awkwardness of adolescence, I exude optimism and confidence. This year, I tapped into that excitement by freshening up my workout wardrobe. New shorts and a coordinating top made it a bit easier to jump on the treadmill today. Pick up a new workout outfit or two and add some energy to the increasingly dark fall mornings.

Try a new skill. Last summer, my husband took me up on our longstanding bargain that if he completed a triathlon, I would brew a beer. I’m intimidated by the “brew cart” of propane tanks and ten-gallon kettles, but I’m excited about learning his hobby. The beginning of a new school year is a good time to try something that makes you a little nervous. Some other ideas you could do that make me nervous are a basic bike mechanics workshop or a self-defense class. Choose something you’ve always wanted to learn but are afraid to try.

Improve on an old skill. Over the years, your school essays turned into term papers. This fall, I finished a 33-mile bike ride over challenging hills, a big step up from the “fast and flat” triathlon courses I was used to. I felt I’d broken a barrier by reaching beyond what I thought my limits were. Think about a part of your life that feels limiting and what you could do to move beyond it. It may be as simple as running half a mile or doing a 10 minute workout.

Enjoy the fresh start this season. New pencils optional.

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