That Back to School Feeling

That Back to School Feeling


Illustration: Randall Enos

Illustration: Randall Enos

AT THIS time of year, nearly every year, I get the feeling that something is left undone. Though it happens like clockwork, it somehow always comes as a surprise, a nagging sense of a shoelace still untied, a door still ajar, a bill overdue.

I have forgotten to do my back-to-school shopping again.

No, not my children’s. I always remember the boys. They are well past the age where they will actually allow me to take them for new clothes (and they were probably never at an age when they would choose a back-to-school outfit complete with matching shoes, the way I used to). But they certainly stock up on supplies — so many that I’m thinking we can sell them to the rest of the students and make a profit. (Why teachers can’t all send supply lists home well in advance, rather than asking working parents to wait in long lines together on that first day, is a subject of a whole other column.)

The person I forget to shop for each year is myself. Again, I don’t mean clothes. I’ve gotten far too good at buying those year round. And I’m not even talking office supplies; I use the surplus from the boys. What I miss each September is the feeling of starting fresh, turning a page, cracking open a new notebook. For the most formative years of our lives, September meant the beginning. I don’t think our internal clocks ever let that go, even when the calendar says a new year begins in January. (The Jewish calendar, of course, begins a new year this weekend. May it be happy and healthy.)

It’s a shame that we don’t have that same season of renewal once we leave school for a working life. A moment of possibility, however brief, that this time we will get it right, keep things organized, stay on top of the work and fly. READ MORE