Beginning in the Middle

School started on Monday. Even though we’re still in August and September has the potential to be hot, the past week has been beautiful – low 80’s, nights into the 50’s. Windows open; Option of wearing jeans; Glimpses of autumn coming.

unnamed-1Our first day was a bit crazy. Lunches needed to be packed. I had to go to work. We started our Whole30 experiment. But in the midst of that morning frenzy, there was underlying excitement. New beginnings! New shoes! New year!

I just read in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, The Story of the Year that the sparrows think humans have it wrong: The new year should be in spring, not in the middle of winter. Every other plant and animal on this planet recognize that spring means new beginnings, not January.

And yet, autumn holds that same promise of fresh starts. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always operated on the school calendar: as a student, as a teacher, and even as a mom. And now with my own student, the next 20 years will be on this cycle: Beginnings at the end of summer.

While I agree with Andersen’s swallows, that spring makes the most sense, I like having a fresh start at the end of August. The year is over half finished. Perhaps the goals of January are still holding strong, but maybe not. Perhaps our hopes for the perfect summer were accomplished, but maybe not. Having a fresh start in this season – of long days getting shorter and weather that keeps me on my toes – is exactly when I need it. Right in the middle, right when it doesn’t make sense.

I’m learning that starting things on the first, whether it’s of the year or of the month can create more opportunity for failure. I attach a number to a project rather than looking at the project itself. I’m learning to start year-long tasks on March 19 rather than January 1. Who can remember March 19?!

So, as we are at the height of this first week of school, my love for fresh starts in the middle of the year is rekindled and I’m looking forward to this new season.

What type of calendar do you operate on? Do you still view August/September as a season of beginnings?

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10 thoughts on “Beginning in the Middle

  1. I’m with you. It feels like a fresh start for me too when the school year starts and that isn’t part of our life anymore. I’ve said this before, but living in a place that is without noticeable seasons, spring and autumn get very lost so I tend to rely on other signals to this ‘new’ year.

    1. I wonder how long it takes to rely (or unrely) on seasons as indicators? There is a certain excitement about the school year that permeates, even if you’re not doing school…

  2. I love this! I’m going to need to get my hands on the story you referenced; I think I would love it. I’ve always operated on a school schedule, too. There’s something rejuvenating about the fall because of it.

  3. Having kids in school always made me start afresh in September.
    20 years ago, the pastor of the church we attended, told about finding verses for each member of his family. He said this the first weekend in September. So starting tomorrow, I am beginning to look-usually always Holy Spirit guided to finding verses for the now 13 members in my immediate family. It will take me the whole month, BUT it is amazing to look over 20 years of Scripture that I have prayed for family members and how the particular verse for the particular person was the perfect verse to pray that year for them!

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