It’s the start of a new month, and a new season of life and work for me. Knowing I had this big trip to England coming up, I turned it into a kind of mile-marker, a dividing line between summer and fall, between creative brainstorm time and get-down-to-brass-tacks time. I’ve been working on a play, a podcast, and a side-hustle. I just got a new screenwriting job. So much to be excited about. I returned from my mystical journey grateful for a fresh start and raring to go, as soon as my body caught up to itself in the Pacific Time zone. Last week, in the days following my return home, I set goals, made gameplans, and scheduled my (metaphorical) grand re-opening for today, Tuesday morning, September 5.
I cooked up an elaborate and detailed new work schedule for myself, complete with breaks, opportunities to evaluate my “assignment” for the day, and commute agendas. I was going to have my feet on the floor at 7:30am. I was going to have my butt in my office chair by 8:30, dressed, made-up, caffeinated. My painstakingly selected word for the month is “vitality.” I’m annoying myself just writing it down, contemplating the go-gettery bushytailedness of it all.
I woke up at 7:30am today, as I have the past few days in fact, a nice side effect of getting to sleep early. Only today, I felt a bit like I’d been hit by a truck. My body was sore, my brain was foggy, and no amount of contemplation on the word “vitality” was going to pep up my step.
I didn’t get dressed or have coffee until almost 10am. I didn’t get my butt into my chair until 10:30. At which point I suddenly had to use the bathroom. My computer was taking forever to restart after a weekend power outage, I couldn’t find the stationery I needed, and my entire body still hurts for reasons unknown.
Talk about demoralizing. What about my grand plans? If I’m being totally honest, it’s tempting to call the whole day a loss. It’s tempting to call the whole week a loss, maybe even the whole new season I envisioned for myself. “Vitality.” Hah! I couldn’t even get the first day right!
I had this thought. And then I sat back down. I looked at my planner. At 11:00am, I’d written “maybe blog?” And here I am. It was not difficult to choose my subject matter.
One thing I love about the goal-planning worksheets I’ve been using the past few years is that each month, you get a chance to start fresh. Every three months there’s a special section for reconsidering your annual goals, and this is a fine opportunity for renewal as well. A podcast I listen to has recently been referring to September as “the other January.” Opportunities to start again abound.
But guess what (she says sternly to herself as much as anyone)? There’s really no need for a new season, a new month, a new week, or even a new day. It’s a lovely and useful mental trick to create a “start date” for your next chapter, but when we assign those dates, they are mostly arbitrary.
All you really need is a new minute -- a new moment -- in which you decide to pick up and start fresh.