Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to School and Balmy Days

It’s a beautiful day out there today. We’ve finally broken our heat and humidity streak and the weather is positively beautiful.

It made it incredibly hard to be inside at work today. It’s going to be even harder tomorrow since it not only is supposed to be equally as gorgeous but also, it’s Friday and it’s never easy to concentrate on Fridays anyway.

Still, I’ll give it my best shot. Of course, I’m already a little preoccupied with preparing for the Great Garage Sale of 2011 but I’m making progress. Except for those random strolls through the house- both mental and physical- where I try to find other items to sell, everything is priced and ready to go. It took a while but I think I’m ready. There’s a lot of things to do tomorrow night to be ready for setup on Saturday but I think that I’ll just make a list.

Of course, there is a chance of rain on Saturday. I’m dearly hoping it holds off until the afternoon. I’m selling and awful lot of items that wouldn’t really do well in the rain.

However, I’m very much keeping my fingers crossed that this lovely weather continues. I think sitting outside in 84 degree weather with a light breeze will be rather nice. Given that a week ago we were up near 100 degrees with stifling humidity, things could be much worse.

These are typically the Dog Days of Summer. It’s unusual for us to have the hot weather in July and cooler weather in August. I can’t remember the amount of back-to-school first days where we’d dress in our new clothes which were really designed for more autumnal weather and we’d be hot and sticky as soon as we stepped outside.

It’s strange that it’s already that time of year. The stores are all full of school supplies and the aisles full of sulky kids who clearly don’t find joy in having to buy new pens, notebooks and the like because it means their freedom is over.

I remember this time of year too. I always liked school but was never terribly fond of the social aspect of school. I was one of the kids who cared what people thought so I’d worry about trivial stuff like where my locker would be, would I get it open, what if I dressed wrong on the first day and what if I didn’t have any of my friends in my classes. Now I look back, it really does seem a little silly because the things seem so minor. Yet they weren’t minor to me back then. They’d be the kind of silly things that I’d think about and not be able to sleep or, worse, I’d wake up in the night and start thinking about them and couldn’t get back to sleep.

It’s amazing how our perspective changes with experience. Not getting my locker open or wearing the wrong shirt used to matter to me because I wanted to fit in. I used to pretend I wanted to be a rebel but, deep down, like so many other kids, I just wanted to be accepted. Looking back, I now know that it was a pretty common fear and probably at least half the kids I wanted to be accepted by probably felt the same way I did.
Yet I didn’t know that back then. I was stuck in the awkwardness of my teenage years, trying to find self-confidence and self-esteem and trying to hold onto them. As I’ve grown older, I do still struggle with these things but never the way I did back then. It’s just not as important as it used to be. What is important now wasn’t even on my radar back then: having a job to pay the bills, being able to provide for myself and the dogs, being able to find time to see my family regularly and just generally finding contentment in the small things.

I do still remember the days of having to go back to school though. They’re not quite distant enough to be foggy and blurred in my mind. Thus, I do still have sympathy for all those students I see having to go back-to-school shopping. For the mob of kids in my neighbourhood who ride their bikes and run around until it starts to get dark, their reign of freedom is drawing to an end. It won’t be long until they’re no longer running around shirtless or in swimsuits up and down the street, yelling and, instead, they’re dressed and waiting for the school bus in the morning, sluggish and miserable and dreaming faintly of the carefree summer that’s just slipped out of their fingers.

I do remember those days and the cloud of commitment that rises up at the beginning of August and stays there until somewhere at the end of September when school has become a familiar routine, it vanishes and the summer is but a distant memory.

Of course, even though I do remember those days, the adult in me has to admit, I quite prefer it when the kids are back in school. There are far less near-misses as one of the kids zooms out into the road on his/her bike without looking even though I’m watching for them anyway. It also means far less yelling and screaming outside my house and kids running across my lawn to take a shortcut. Yes, I know…I’m getting old.

But at least I don’t have to go back to school. I can just enjoy the sales on school supplies and use them for fun purposes at home.

Being an adult definitely has its advantages.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

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