Those of you with children at home know that Labor Day Weekend coincides with returning to school. This usually means starting a new grade, getting a new teacher, or even starting over at a completely new level of education, be it middle school, high school, college or beyond. Some of you children out there might feel somewhat nervous or anxious. Not because there's anything bad awaiting you on the other side, but because it's new, different, and unfamiliar. Just enough to change the foundation your world is based on, make you feel uncomfortable, and somewhat uncertain about what lies ahead.
If I could get just a little bit personal, that's exactly what's happening with me. I won't be getting into the specifics -- yet -- but I have a new beginning this week too. Since many of you have been reading this blog regularly, I wanted to share a few of my feelings with you. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared, even a little.
This was a new beginning that I chose for myself. I had every reason in the world to begin it, and I still have every reason in the world to make it happen. That didn't make the decision an easy one, and it's not going to make this new beginning feel like a breeze. If anything, it feels a lot like the first day of school . . . for a semester that's going to last the rest of my life.
This new classroom I'm occupying has different rules than the one I was in last year. It allows more freedoms, but also requires more responsibilities. It teaches lessons for those who are mature, in age and in attitude, but it also reminds us that these lessons originate from mistakes and misunderstandings. It allows new opportunities to grow and learn, but it also contains reminders of opportunities that were not taken, and lost.
Ultimately, I know I'll be using this classroom to learn from those past mistakes. This could be a classroom where I'm the star pupil, and ultimately the teacher. A classroom where I can learn exactly what I need to make better decisions, be they life choices or "little things." My only problem will be my memories of last year's class, how to use them, and when not to use them.
Yes, we've all crammed for tests and developed photographic memories during our scholastic careers (three days before I took the bar exam, I could quote things chapter and verse). But in this classroom, the idea is to not be stuck and stifled by everything that was remembered. As an old Jedi Master once tried to teach his final student, I clearly must unlearn much of what I've learned. Not easy at all, folks. That's because to excel in this new classroom, I can't just ingest and regurgitate black-letter rules that are never questioned or modified. In this new academic period, I'm forced to completely overhaul my attitude about life in general. And that means putting the past in categories that me most -- as guideposts, as reference material, as footnotes, as anecdotal evidence . . . or better yet, as shredding. And knowing where it all belongs. And let me tell you, that means a lot of editorial work, and even more shredding!
I've cultivated a hobby, more like a mini-career, writing these motivational messages as a modern-day part-time philosopher. I like to remind people of life-affirming approaches to address conflict and adversity while achieving the self-actualization that sometimes eludes us. What I say sometimes sounds deep and profound, but I still put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. I am no guru, no master, and no sensei. I'm still flesh and blood, I still face challenges, and I still have feelings that are all too human. I'd like to think that by sharing some of this with you all -- only some of it now, and some of it later -- I'll get through some of those lessons better than it would by merely going it alone.
One final note -- my close relatives and friends who read this blog already know what I'm talking about, and can read between the lines. The rest of you, being the smart cookies you are, have probably already figured it out for yourselves. That being said, I'd rather not comment on the exact reason why I'm starting this new school until I know that it's the right time to do so. Until then, anyone who has a question to ask, or a specific statement to make about this situation, please email me, Facebook me, or Direct Message me privately.
(ya know, when I was in my old school, I never did go out for the cross-country team -- this could be my chance to pick up that varsity letter after all those years . . . . ) :)