Similar to the beginning of a new year in January, a transition happens every September.
September is a time of renewal. It’s a milestone month — an excellent time to take stock of goals and priorities. It’s also an excellent time to get moving on abandoned projects that were deemed as priorities for 2018.
The rhythm of life is altered in September as summer ends and fall approaches. For young parents, school begins thus signalling regular routines like early bedtimes, preparation of lunches, and homework supervision. For workers, the casual atmosphere of the summer ends, vacations recede into memory, and commuting times lengthen. For those of us who are retired, September is a time to consider priorities for how we spend precious time and energy. As the photo below suggests it’s a time to “do stuff that matters!”
September 1 marked the beginning of meteorological autumn equinox although the 2018 astronomical fall equinox doesn’t arrive until September 23. Days are shorter. Sunrise is later; sunset is earlier. The same 24 hours pass more quickly with 60 or 70 fewer minutes of daylight. The weather may not be much cooler but lazy beach days don’t hold the same appeal especially as the arc of the sun is lower.
Life gets busy again in September. Summer days with no rules, no schedules, and endless hours of leisure are gone. This means it’s time to get organized. Perhaps it’s because I was born in September that I always feel a surge of energy as autumn arrives. I’m ready to begin making lists. Although I enjoy the relaxed pace of life at the cottage, I’m ready to ‘move’ back to our house and re-stock the home fridge. I’ll do a ‘refresh’ of the house with some cleaning, a few new plants, and some de-cluttering. I’ll begin making plans with friends for fall activities.
For those of us who don’t have to go back to work or school, September is an excellent month to take stock of how free time is used. It’s a time to assess progress with life goals and priorities. Are days filled with purpose? Does your time management need a tweak?
September, just like January, is a month for starting over. It’s also a good month to start something new. Perhaps it’s a resolve to get more exercise — sometimes with vigorous activities such as tennis, cycling, dancing, hiking — sometimes with more gentle activities such as daily walks, yoga, golf or swimming.
Coupled with physical exercise, a nutritious diet filled with an array of vegetables and fruits will produce health benefits. Taking stock of eating habits can also mean finding substitutes for salty packaged snacks and evaluation of the amount of alcohol consumed at happy hour. Possibly the extra roundness from too many ice cream treats or summer drinks means cutting a few calories.
Staying mentally active with stimulating activities helps to keep the ageing brain in shape and also to ward off dementia. By continuing to learn new things, by participating in stimulating and social activities such as bridge, chess, book clubs, and by challenging yourself with stimulating pastimes such as crossword puzzles or sudoku, you maintain mental fitness. Many people find that September is a good time to enroll in a continuing education class, start those music lessons, or learn another language.
Assessing involvement with the world is another aspect of taking stock. The need for productivity doesn’t stop with retirement. If it’s engagement you want, volunteer work, social advocacy, political causes, religious institutions, and community projects may offer opportunities to donate time and talent to worthy organizations. The payoff comes with an improved sense of well-being when participating with other people for a common cause. Doing nice things for others results in improved happiness.
September transitions offer a chance to kick off the fall season. The burst of energy encourages taking stock, renewing past commitments, and, perhaps starting something new. With intentional effort, new habits can pay off with improved well-being and life satisfaction. I’m determined to use September transitions to truly focus ‘on stuff that really matters’!
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