I know, I know – it’s still August. But September, with its myriad activities, is on my mind, just around that next curve in the road. In the matter of a three days, since the start of school, our family calendar has gone from free and clear to filled to the brim and I don’t know how to manage it all. Days are packed with events, and we still haven’t gotten dates for fall baseball and I really hope I can be in three places at once during the weekend of September 15, which is quickly developing into the busiest two days of my life.
Aha, I say, I remember this from last September. And yet I forget until the month comes around again. How was it that just two weeks ago we were lolling around at a waterpark, with no further thought to scheduling than “when’s dinner”? Or in my case, “when did I book that manicure?” Life was good. And life is still good — I try to remember that amidst all the craziness. Instead of panicking, I embrace the craziness. Crazy is good. September is good. Fullness and calendars brimming with plans are good.
After our family vacation, I spent a few days in New York City, meeting with my agent about The Houseover book, and visiting friends — friends from all sorts of stages in my life, from childhood (we giggled as always, and reviewed all the things we could have screwed up by midlife … but didn’t), to family newly moved to New Jersey, to a Chicago friend transplanted to NJ by a job transfer, to friends from 20 years ago, when we were all single career women in New York City. A kaleidoscope of friendships set in a city that sometimes feels like a revolving door. People leave, and they reappear, and the backdrop of New York keeps shifting, and it’s always colorful.
In my life, I start to see themes. Whenever I have a dream to chase, I go to New York. Doesn’t matter whether I am 23 and arriving with two suitcases from a small town in Wisconsin, or today, when I have a book to bring to life. New York comes around again, like September.
When people talk about the benefits of travel, they always talk about what they see and do and learn while traveling. For me, a key benefit of travel is returning home to see the place you live with new eyes. I hadn’t realized that Rental House smelled a little musty until I got back home, and I don’t know if it’s the old ductwork and the knowledge that probably many, many cats have lived here during Rental House’s long life, but my eyes have been watering ever since. I hadn’t realized how much I missed walking everywhere until I got home from pounding the New York pavement, so today I walked back and forth to school twice, and then rode my bike to the grocery store. I had so much fun biking around and feeling all counter-cultural while watching the line of traffic on Wilmette Avenue. Plus, I got to see two friends at the bike store, where I stopped to add a Nantucket Bicycle Basket to my repertoire. Biking and walking are all part of my richer, thinner and greener program, which I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, I have a book proposal to finish so my agent can have a book to sell, and I have kids to deposit in various places, and stories to write for the magazine. What I don’t have right now is much time to sleep, or a leisurely pace, but that’s okay. Life is full. I wish for you a full-to-the-brim September.