It’s that time of year again. Back-to-school time. I don’t have kids and I’m seven years out of college, so this seasonal transition shouldn’t mean all that much to me. But, seeing the pervasive back-to-school ads and news stories on TV, and the cute “(so-in-so’s) first-day-of-school!” photos on Facebook, got me thinking… reminiscing, really. Ah, to be young again.
I loved school as a child. I excelled academically and I had friends, so going to school was fun for me (though, waking up and getting to school on time was an entirely different story, my mother will attest). I think I may have enjoyed the hustle-and-bustle of back-to-school more than being released for summer break.
From elementary through high school, I relished picking out new clothes and shoes to wear when I headed back to the classroom—a tradition I was very fortunate my parents could provide. And as much as I delighted in receiving an updated wardrobe each August, the nerd that I am equally looked forward to filling a shopping basket with school supplies: colorful pens and highlighters, neon sticky notes and index cards, huge binders, fanciful folders and printed notebooks. I want to hit the back-to-school aisle at Target right now!
Today, I can (for the most part) buy myself a new dress, a pair of shoes or a rainbow pack of Sharpies whenever I want. So as an adult looking back on that period of my childhood, I think the thing I miss the most is the promise. The fresh start. When the sunny days and shenanigans of summer had wiped the slate clean. Worries and responsibilities were small, or non-existent. When we went back to school our minds were free to focus but also free to be creative. At least six hours of each weekday were dedicated to learning something new. And while I didn’t always enjoy math or chemistry, my mind was forced to think, to work, to solve problems. Or create. I so miss band class and choir. How wonderful those days were, to have an hour set aside just to make music.
I think the reason I am pining for those regimented days of school is because I am currently unemployed. It’s far too easy to fall into the slow death that is laziness. The couch, the TV and my beat-up laptop are my new best friends it seems. It’s a multifaceted problem. I’ll try to sum up: Poor job prospects in my industry in my area + lack of a local support system since we moved across the country + fear of trying something new and failing.
Ah, to be a kid again!
I feel a strong desire within myself to be creative. That’s why I started blogging again. I’m a writer at heart; that’s what I do, what I love. That’s how I best express myself. I stopped blogging in 2011 because I got so busy, stressed, overwhelmed—heck, completely and devastatingly burned-out—from my professional writing job that I had nothing left to give to the personal outlet I had created. My inspiration and motivation dried up.
But I feel it bubbling to the surface again, and launching this blog was a first step in letting it out. I had been thinking about it for months, at least, before summoning the courage to do it. That’s the thing with me—I too often let Fear, Insecurity and Self-Doubt get in my way. I recognize it, but it’s still hard to beat.
There’s another creative passion I’ve wanted to pursue for quite some time, and that treacherous trio of Fear, Insecurity and Self-Doubt have held me back yet again. But, I’m in the process of taking some steps to get on the path to conquer those creativity-killers.
On our little apartment desk I propped up a print several weeks ago that reads:
It’s pretty and inspiring—and quietly taunting me.
I’m unemployed. I have nothing but free time on my hands. Like all those kiddos rushing back to their classrooms in their very best outfits with the most colorful of pens, it’s time for me to embrace the promise of a new season, to give myself a fresh start. It’s time to not only believe in the beauty of my dreams, but to have the confidence to put in the work to make them come true.
So that’s my homework: To get rid of Fear, Insecurity and Self-Doubt and carve out a place where Creativity and Learning are not just allowed, they are encouraged daily to flourish.
It’s my back-to-school, grown-up edition.