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  • Writer's pictureMicki Bare

End-of-summer thoughts

Hot beach feet in shade at the ocean

My first summer break since returning to the classroom is over. It was a good break. I played, traveled, studied, wrote, read, and visited. Now, much to Hubby's chagrin, I'm excited to get back to a regular work schedule. Much like when I was a child, the end-of-summer blues never had a chance as the beginning of the school year blankets me with excitement and anticipation. Another fresh slate on which to build success.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the summer break. In the midst of the end-of-summer season, it's time to pause and reflect on what I learned. For example, when it comes to academics, I've still "got it." Many decades ago, I was a straight-A student. Back then, my brain was young and my aspirations were high. I was intimidated to go back to school in my 50s. A lot has changed since I earned my BA long before my children were born. This summer, I hit the halfway mark in my Master of Arts in Teaching program. At this juncture, I can proudly boast a 4.0 GPA. What I learned is my brain still works and my aspirations remain lofty.

Another golden summer nugget is the beach is better during the off-season. It wasn't even the crowds that got to me. It was the heat. There are not enough scoops of ice cream, bottles of ice water, or snow cones to beat the sticky, humid, blood-boiling heat of a southern summer on the blazing hot sand. We brought the Bocci ball game, but there was no way we could play it and avoid heat stroke. Teacher-families are limited when it comes to vacation plans, so it looks like we'll be reducing our beach trips to weekend getaways during late fall or early spring.

Lastly, I discovered that less is more. When you have time to clean out closets, drawers, cabinets, and shelves, you realize you don't need much of the stuff crammed into those dark, dusty places. Once I gave myself permission to let go, weeding our collection of junk became cathartic. This summer saw a reduction in household clutter not seen since we moved in 2010. My goal this school year is to collect less than I got rid of over the summer. That way, by the time we retire, downsizing will be a breeze.

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