Fresh New Notebooks
I know I am no longer a student but there is something about September’s “back to school time” that sparks a renewed sense of awakened energy. The lazy hazy days have drawn to an end and there is a quickened pace that keeps time with the speed of the cooling temperatures and the days getting shorter.
As I am knee-deep in helping kids navigate a new and exciting and a bit scary return to school (they are switching schools this year so it makes for a bit of worry on their part), I am transported back to my own childhood memories of going back to school after the summer holidays.
I am a perpetual student. I have always loved the challenge of learning new things. I loved the possibilities that were ahead on that first morning of a new school year. I loved imagining what the teacher would be like, who the students would be in my class, what new things I was going to learn. I truly looked forward to going back to school. I looked forward to the cooler temperatures and being able to wear my new back-to-school outfit that inevitably involved some sort of wool tight or skirt that was, of course, too warm to wear early September but just perfect for the cooler Octobers.
Above all, my favourite thing about going back to school was the new school supplies. The fresh new pencils needing sharpening. The brand new pens with caps on them—such a novelty since the caps would be long gone usually by the second week in. The fresh notebook. Like a blank canvas just waiting to hold all the fresh new knowledge that was coming my way. The stiff binders, the cello wrapped notecards. The brand new markers with every colour still vibrant and accounted for. It was a feast of colours and newness that invigorated me. Like Pavlov’s dog, the new supplies were like my bell, priming my excitement for the learning to come. Whetting my intellectual appetite.
To this day I love stationery and supplies. I love to go to the local Staples store and check out the coloured pens, the bright sticky notes, the notepads and notebooks. It for me screams possibility. The world is waiting for the flash of pink or green or purple ink across that fresh sheet of paper. Those ideas, those dreams, those random notes of kindness that are scrawled and shared, all of that potential lies there inside these brand new unused supplies. My favourite is a brand new notebook. I have a couple on hand at all times to crack open. When a new project or venture starts to be more than a passing idea I like to have a brand new notebook to mark the importance of this new project. I will admit I am guilty also of having a few notebooks with partially filled pages of discarded dreams or shifts in focus but for the most part, I honour the new idea and give it the focus it needs with its own notebook. Just like nurturing a child requires you to focus, spend time, listen and be with that child, the notebook allows me to be with the idea in a more tangible way.
As the heightened energy starts to buzz, I realize there are aspects of the changing season that aren’t as shiny and fun as new coloured pens and fresh new notebooks. I don’t miss the anxious worry over, “Will I fit in”, “Will I be able to do well”, “What if the kids don’t like me”, that understandably my own kids are going through now. So as we pack up their new backpacks with their new pencils and crayons, I am packing in extra hugs, extra side conversations to let them know how proud I am of who they have become and to remind them of all the times they ventured into something new and did just fine. It’s a balance of support and a slight kick in the butt to spread their wings more and explore life outside the comfort of the nest. I frame it up in the same way with recounting my own fondness and excitement for all the possibilities the new year has to offer. The what if’s can be scary from their eyes so I counter with my own, “What if it’s the greatest school year ever?”
I do miss the excitement of the potential for greatness that the new school year beckons with. I have a certain nostalgia right now. And thankfully I realize that it’s never too late. There are still many opportunities for newness. I still have a few hours of online study to get through. I have a speaking engagement to prepare for coming up at the end of the month. I have new certifications to put into practice for my healing clients. The opportunity for learning is always there if I am awake to see it. And thanks to this new more energetic time of the year I am awake and ready to take it on. And bonus, I get to use that new notebook and purple pen!