There was something different about this day. As I stepped out my front door, I realized it was not an ordinary summer day. At 6:30AM, it was still somewhat dusk. The sun was just starting to peak above the horizon. The air was cooler, almost crisp; not a drop of humidity hung in the air. Running down the well worn sidewalk, I spotted some yellowed leaves dusting my path when it hit me. Fall was in the air. And with fall meant school was right around the corner.

Every August, a few weeks before school started, I always felt a rush of emotions. Part of me became this anxious being; worried about a plethora of things. Would I like my classes and my teachers? How much homework would I have? Which lunch break would I have? How would I get to school? What did I need to bring with me to school on the first day? Should I wear pants or shorts on the first day of class? Which locker would I be assigned? Who would be in my classes?

The other part of me would become extremely excited. I would beg my mother to take me with her every week to the grocery store just so I could browse the school supply aisle. She would always let my brother and I pick out one or two things that were on sale each week until we had all the required materials. My favorite part was selecting between the various markers, colored pencils, and other art supplies. There were so many beautiful colors to choose from. I felt if I had just the right rainbow of colors, I would be able to create the most magnificent colorings of all.

There was also the decision making that went behind which Binder Keeper to select. They were the plastic binders that velcro-ed shut. Every plastic cover had a different theme. There were those with animals, some had scientific themes, or bright arrays of colors. One year I choose a water scene with a dolphin jumping out of the ocean in front of a setting sun. Another year, I choose a bright purple binder as a nod to my favorite color.

I would spend hours in my bedroom, carefully placing the dividers and lined notebook paper into my binder. I would pack my new backpack carefully, placing the binder in first, then my pencil pouch, followed by my ruler, calculator, and art supplies. At least a week before classes began, I’d go through my closet and try on several outfits; contemplating which would look best for school pictures on that first day back.

The first day of class would finally arrive and with it the butterflies in my stomach. I would be so nervous, I’d have a hard time falling asleep the night before. The morning would come quickly, and I would bound out of bed an hour early just to get prepared. When the school bell rang, I’d run into school with all of my excited peers and rush towards my first classroom and a new school year.

I have been out of school three years now, and I still feel the pre-school-year jitters around this time every year. While I may not have a new school year to look forward to, I still feel that same sense of a leaf turning over. I started my current job September 10th last year, so now I have a year review to look forward to rather than a new teacher or class. Labor Day is the last holiday and vacation time to look forward to before the upcoming big “family” holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is, essentially, the last “hurrah” of summer before the pools are closed and boats stored away. A time to enjoy the warm weather once more before the crisp mornings turn into cool days requiring coats and pants. No longer needing a new backpack and school supplies, I head to the stores for end of the summer discounts and a few new fall items to accessorize my work wardrobe. I may not have classes to attend, but my heart is never far from all those children and the adventures they endure each fall as they head back to school.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) The excitement and annual routines of a new school year aren’t just for the kids. Carry some of this excitement with you into your daily activities; it can help make things seem fresh and anew.

2.) With the start of school comes the change of season; enjoy the warmth and sunlight now as it will not be long until fall is upon us.

3.) Remember your first day of school and all the fond memories that it conjures up; it will make you feel young at heart again.