New season, new goals

Fall in the Public Gardens

I know that it’s not technically fall yet, but I can’t help looking ahead eagerly to my favorite season. Like the springtime, fall brings a fresh start. To some, spring may represent the growth and renewal of life, while fall signifies its decay. I disagree. The trees shaking their leaves bare feels more like a cleanse than a deterioration. Minimalism brings a different kind of abundance.

Perhaps fall feels like a new beginning to me because my birthday falls early in the season. This year I turn 23, a year that’s supposed to be one of the best of my life. According to a study by The Centre for Economic Performance (London), life satisfaction peaks at age 23, and then again at age 69. Why 23? It seems that twenty-three year olds, fresh out of college and eager to take on the world, overestimate their future life satisfaction by about ten percent. This is before the disappointment of adulthood kicks in, and we become disillusioned as our hopes and dreams come crashing down (at age 24, apparently).

This sounds depressing, but if I only have a year to remain foolishly optimistic, then I’m going to make the most of it. Twenty-two was a beautiful year for me, full of adventures and achievements, some mistakes but mostly laughter. As far as I’m concerned, life can only continue to get better.

Like the seasons, birthdays are excellent landmarks for “resetting” and goal setting. Here are a few for fall and beyond:

  •  Read (another) ten books.Witchy nails, fall 2011
  • Put my library card to better use (instead of draining my wallet into every bookstore I cross).
  • Buy an indoor plant (keep it alive) and discard the ones that died over the summer…
  • Go apple picking.
  • Carve a pumpkin.
  • Come up with my best Halloween costume yet.
  • Finish my Christmas shopping by November.
  • Show better appreciation for the people in my life, and all they do for me.
  • Aim for two minutes of meditation per day.
  • Schedule alone time each week to read, write, reflect, breathe.

Just ten goals for now. Not 23, or an extra for good luck. I’m sure this list will continue to grow, but I’m more excited for what life decides to throw at me.

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Closing a chapter

The last weekend of summer is upon us. On September 1, Boston will make the “great migration.” Homes will appear to have regurgitated their furniture onto the streets as inhabitants play musical chairs and move to new apartments in the city. At the same time, all the students will come pouring back and clog the city’s arteries with their moving trucks and unnecessary amounts of dorm “necessities.”

This is the first September of my life that I will not return to school. I graduated last December, and still cannot believe that chapter of my life is over. Watching all the students come come marching (or grumbling) back to academic obligations makes me realize how much I miss school.

Photo of the Baldwin School

Let’s be real, I knew I’d miss school the minute my final class period ended. Being handed my diploma was like sticking a knife through my day planner. I’ve always loved school, from beginning to end and everything in between.

Since I went to a Catholic grade school, “back to school” never entailed shopping for clothes, but it did mean decorating and wrapping my textbooks in brown paper bags, and, of course, purchasing a new set of Gel pens. High school meant pouring over my reading lists for the upcoming year, and reading half of them before the term even began. My high school years were filled with dance parties in the hallway, dress up days, scavenger hunts, ugly blazers, Slip ‘n Slides on the soccer field, ringing gongs, and a plethora of other fun and bizarre traditions that can only be understood if you attended an all girls high school.

Baldwin Gates decorated

At the same time, high school was serious business –sleepless nights, endless term papers, day-long exam periods, and so many “well-rounded” extra-curriculars that we all graduated as perfect spheres. I was a well-oiled machine by the time I reached college, arriving early to every class, perched on the edge of my seat during lectures, fueling my excitement with cup after cup of coffee.

As much as I loved school, and continue to miss it now, graduating has given me the opportunity to do all sorts of things I wasn’t able to do before. For one, this blog. Two, starting to make a significant dent in my bucket list. A few successes from this summer include:

Writing 

I’ve been published!

Global Business Hub

Reading

I set out to read ten books this summer. Although this is a slight diversion from my original list, I will have completed a total of ten by the end of this weekend.

Girl With a Pearl Earring

We Live in WaterTinkersAnd the Mountains Echoes

TransAtlantic

AmericanahThis Is How You Lose HerThe Thing Around Your Neck

The Virgins

Hygiene and the Assassin

Discovering

Photo of kayaking on Charles RiverPhoto of NantucketPhoto of NYCPhoto Philly "LOVE"Photo of railroad tracks

And simply enjoying

Photo of hammockPoolsidePhoto cherry tomatoesMiacomet Beach

It’s been a beautiful summer, and I’m planning on making Labor Day the best weekend of summer yet. But each season brings new opportunities and possibilities. School or not, I’m ready to fall in love with my favorite season all over again.