September has become a surrogate January – the second ‘new year, new you’ in the calendar, if you like. Clearly 'back to school' for anyone with school age kids, means entirely that. But for the rest of us, the back to school mantra comes with the suggestion we should get in gear, re-tune sunshine-soaked minds and steel ourselves for a season of goal setting and achievement making.
If it sounds exhausting, that’s because it is.
I’ve long fallen foul of what I call, Protestant guilt. The idea that fun (i.e, summer) must be followed by a period of penance (i.e whipping yourself with the 'back to school' stick). Many a lost weekend has ended with me trying desperately to steam clean my soul, rather than chalking it up to one-off fun and trotting on with life. Well, sound the klaxon. This 'year' I'm trying something new.
This September my back to school ethos is not about gritty targets and tick boxes, but being generally softer in my approach to stuff. After years of self-flagellation, comparing my career to others and scoop-feeding myself anxiety via social media (why AREN’T I writing an article in Mauritius / why DON'T I have a golden goose, etc?) this year I’m opting out. I’m eating the flapjack without remorse, I’m shrugging rather than sobbing when I don’t get the pitch, I’m drinking wine on a Monday with friends, just because: Dragging some of summer’s most delicious moments into September; appreciating the beauty in every day details while trying harder not sweat the small stuff.
In a society that makes mega bucks out of women's self doubt, there’s something quietly rebellious about hanging on to the easy-breezy attitude of summer and shirking the subtext that the relentless ‘back to school’ messaging brings.
Pina Colada anyone?