Monday, August 1, 2016

Awful August

Yesterday, I was checking out the back-to-school sales at Staples. I love school supplies, back-to-school shopping and sales. I ran into a former colleague and had a fun, on-the-fly chat. The day was sunny--hot, but sunny--and it was Sunday, so the whole day was at my disposal. I had few complaints.

Today, it's August 1. MONDAY, August 1.

That hardly seems fair.

Today, it's gray--not raining (yet), but gray--and I felt overbooked before I got out of bed. The meme at left, while perfectly reflecting my feelings, did give me a little chuckle when I found it on a friend's Facebook page. Marilyn's a teacher, too, so she knows that turning the calendar page to August means it's time to get serious. The former colleague I ran into at Staples yesterday knows this, too. She was planning on working on her classroom today.

Though my days of putting together an office at school are behind me, August still means putting things together. These days, it's syllabi and reading lists, Moodles and presentations. None of this is difficult, but all of it means that the great ideas I've been planning in my head (where details don't matter, so it's not a problem if they're not fleshed out) need to be transferred to paper where they'll need to have goals and objectives and be attached to due dates. As a big picture person, I get a stomachache just thinking about it.

This month is a wake-up call in more ways than one. August means nudging my body back into a sleep schedule that doesn't come naturally. The longer days of summer are perfect for night owls like me who get a second wind sometime around 7PM. During the summer, if I choose to ride that second wind until midnight, there's no alarm clock to fear the next day. During the semester, when I ride the second wind until midnight (as I invariably do), I pay for it the next day, and the sleep deficit grows larger as the week progresses. August means acknowledging that the world operates on a different schedule than I do.
And this August means a new kind of back to school at our house. In three weeks, we'll be dropping my daughter off at college. She's ready and I'm as ready as I can be, but as the summer winds down, the reality of this departure keeps sneaking up on me and hitting me over the head when I least expect it. Last Friday night, for example, we did some dorm supply shopping, which was fun--until I got home and we began unpacking our purchases and reality hit. Since March, I've been almost unequivocally excited about all the adventures that lie ahead for my daughter, but, now that it's August, equivocation has set in. I'm going to miss her and life is going to be very different.

I still have almost a month to ease into these changes, though. Between now and the end of this month, we'll visit my parents, spend some time as a family in New York City, see Billy Joel in concert and celebrate my birthday. And, because August also means that crisp, cool fall weather is just around the corner, this month I dread will give way to my favorite season of all.

Now that I can get behind.

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