Led into the dismal, dusty room in long rows, anxiously realizing that you’ve managed to place yourself between Chuck and Karen. There’s no escape, your friends are three rows away and all you can do is look over with an appeal for sympathy pleading from your eyes. You file in awkwardly, hitting your thigh on the arm of the chair as you try to fold down the seat of your chair and take your position for the next hour.
A woman takes the stage and begins her inspirational speech about the upcoming year, the expectations, how the future is in your very capable hands. If you simply put the effort in you will reap the rewards in the form of good grades, a bright future and the pleasure of having your mind opened with the expanse of knowledge you are going to pour into your brain.
My heart would fill with excitement and hope. I can do this, I can create, I can choose, it’s going to be a great year. The exhilaration would take over and I wouldn’t notice Chuck sleeping next to me, while Ken tried to hit him with spit balls from two rows back, Karen filing her nails on the other side of me fading into the background.
I love January, I love mornings, I love the beginning of projects and I love back to school time. The promise of the possibilities, the hopefulness of all that can be, the lure of hard work, it’s all here. The upheaval caused by a whirlwind of holidays or summer vacations relieved by the impending routine and structure. Even if the routine is simply something to try to break from, the boundaries giving us something to push up against allowing for greater creativity.
People get down on New Year’s resolutions and the fact that we don’t often stick with the commitments we make during those times we are inspired by the hope of a bright new outlook. If your commitment to quit smoking only lasts two weeks, that’s still two weeks less smoking than if you hadn’t made it at all. Sure by the end of the school year we’ll be throwing our books in the air screaming about our freedom and escape from the rigidity of life. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around we are in desperate need of a month of parties and breaks from the mundane.
That doesn’t mean we should deny our drive to feel exhilarated at the start. As fall approaches and all the back to school fervor surrounds us, embrace the remarkability of the routine and all the possibilities before you.