I’m not exactly sure how—although I really never am—but summer has flown by again. Damn you, summer, you’re always in such a rush.
Now I wish I knew exactly how time manages to speed itself up during the months of school vacation, but I don’t. It’s slightly bizarre and extremely irritating, but I guess it’s just one of those conundrums of life that we’re never meant to understand.
So now we’re in the unavoidable position, as we are every fall, of having to disengage ourselves from our slow, free-spirited brain and replace it with a much more frazzled and scheduled one. And we don’t even have the luxury of it being a gradual progression either. We go from zero to sixty literally overnight; and we cross our fingers that everything clicks on the first try. Kind of like how we hold our breath that the car will start after we realize that we left the lights on overnight.
Because here’s the thing, just like a car that’s been idle for a while will sometimes take a few tries to turn over and run smoothly, so, too, can the process of going back to school. That’s because all the little nuances of re-entry work a lot like any machine—there are lots of moving parts that have to be synchronized and lubed if the whole system is going to work right. And even then, breakdowns still happen.
We cross our fingers that we did everything we needed to do to allow for a smooth start, but we also recognize that because the car has been idle for a couple of months, inevitably, the engine may backfire when we turn the key. And although it may stall, it will almost always turn over and get you where you need to go. We just have to remember to keep our cool when we try the ignition for the first time. Because we’re not doing ourselves, or anyone else, any good if we flip a nutty if it doesn’t run smoothly right away. It’s been idle and needs time to warm up. And the process of getting back into the rhythm of school is really no different.
That’s why I think we all should hope for the best but expect something close to the absolute worst. Just do everything you can do to make the ride smooth, but know that even the most finely tuned cars can still blow a tire.
See, we will forget things. We always do. But we’re not alone. We’re never alone. We’re all scrambling at the eleventh hour to make sure we’ve covered everything. But we almost always don’t. That’s why it’s smart to go into it knowing that nothing usually goes completely according to plan.
Look, there’s really no textbook way to wrap our minds around the unavoidable return to school and the disjointedness that we all feel. The kids are feeling it; the teachers are feeling it; and the parents are sure as hell feeling it. But the consolation is that we all somehow manage to make it across the start line. Some more graceful than others. But in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get started, it just matters that you do. And, above all, it’s important to remember that it’s really not as scary and intimidating as we make it out to be in our own head.
I feel like we’re all allowed be slightly annoyed that our lazy break was interrupted. We all deserve the right to wallow in the loss of summer for a day. Maybe two. People need to be able to mourn a loss. But more than a day or two and then you become ridiculous. Then you’re just prolonging the inevitable. And the inevitable, in this case, is that the seasons must change and school must resume. Trust me, embracing where you are at the moment beats the hell out of being bitter and angry and stubborn about where you aren’t at the moment.
The smartest thing we can do is embrace going back, knowing that vacations and long weekends and days off, and yes, eventually summer, will come. And just in the nick of time. It always does, doesn’t it?
See, that’s the beauty of the natural cycle of life. It never fails to gently push us forward at exactly the moment when we need to be pushed. Because honestly, too much summer would be boring. And too much winter would be, well, painful. I say it all the time, but all things in moderation.
The way I see it, we all have two choices: A) be depressed and moody and foul that summer has ended and refuse to recognize the new academic calendar, or B) resign ourselves that it’s happening with or without us and we need to do our best to keep the engine running as smoothly as possible.
Yeah, I went for B, too. Duh.