Last Days of Summer

Labor Day Weekend spent organizing instead of poolside.


This last weekend of summer conjured childhood memories growing up in the Chicago suburbs. Before moving to California, my summer vacations involved endless days catching fireflies inside empty glass jars, grassy backyards, Jell-O Pudding Pops, Kool-Aid and Sixteen Candles on constant replay. Back then, riding my bike around the block felt like a big deal and an adventure. Once we moved away from Chicago, summer never quite felt the same. But what always seemed to stay the same was the September mix of excitement and anxiety that came with a new school year.

I always knew summer was ending once I saw all the back to school ads and supplies sold at the department store. My OCD trait likely started at an early age because towards the end of my summer break, I would pull out the Sunday paper circulars and go through Kmart and Venture weeklies to scan the newest and coolest school supplies: the latest Trapper Keeper, any Lisa Frank folder, brand new crayons/markers. For a person that loves order and organization, the days leading up to the first day of school define perfection because the pencil box is arranged just right, pencils extra sharp and the loose leaf paper still neatly contained in plastic wrapping. All the new school supplies go into the new desk and can be arranged in any way. On the first September day of school, the possibilities are endless since as the year will go by, inevitably laziness wins and I just throw pencils, erasers, markers and anything else anywhere and everywhere except perfectly back into that pencil box.

The first day of school also brought out pressure to create the first day of school outfit. As I got older and entered high school, this would prove to be such a major well thought out moment for me. Obviously, I didn’t have Pinterest growing up to help me so I could only rely on teen magazines, the mall and my East Coast cousins for wardrobe ideas. I didn’t care if it was 100 degrees out, I would wear dark jeans and a long sleeve fall sweater if it meant I could look cool and trendy that first day walking to my locker.

Personally, I have completed a tremendous amount of school in my life and shaking the perpetual student mentality has been a long and expensive process for me. I’m so used to a world centered around academics and studying. As a result, I realize I always associated Labor Day weekend as my last weekend to have fun before endless reading assignments, papers and studying. However, this is the first Labor Day weekend in a long while where I don’t feel any rush to be anywhere or do anything particular. No FOMO hovering over me this weekend.

My lack of first day of school anxiety made me wonder, When does adulthood settle in? Rather than searching Target weekly ads for school supplies, I spent this weekend reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and reviewing articles specifically addressing closet organizing ideas.I still feel (and maybe act) young but when did I actually move away from school supplies to searching for perfect hangers? At what point did I get excited about organizing my socks, throwing out shoes and just want to declutter? Instead of September school anxiety, my every day world now revolves around Outlook calendar reminders, meetings and monthly reports. I can’t escape it.

While I enjoy this strange and unfamiliar September peacefulness, admittedly out of habit I did find myself looking for a post-Labor Day work ensemble piece to start the upcoming week/season. But adulthood mentality sunk in and I reminded myself to instead find something in my existing closet and save money.

Goodbye Summer. Hello again Adulthood.

Dreamy childhood summer vacations.

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