Hooray! Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Of new pencil cases and blazers with plenty of growing room! Of seeing your breath in the cold morning and dying of heat exposure on the bus home! Hooray for new terms, new clothes, new seasons of your favourite TV shows! For being allowed to cover your pasty legs with woolly tights! Hooray hooray for everything shiny and unscuffed and full of possibilities! And just when it all starts to look a little bit shabby, it will be time to scatter a layer of glitter over everything and call it Christmas!
I can't be the only one who succumbs to this air of possibilities every year. It's an awfully long time since I started a new school term, but the legacy lives on (being married to a school teacher surely helps). Let's face it, January is a rubbish time to start afresh - we feel jaded and overstuffed from the Christmas excesses, so detox makes sense - but at a time when the temperature and the short days scream 'Eat! Hibernate! Return to your burrow and do not attempt any activity for at least 3 months!' it's hardly a cheering prospect to start the whole 'eat-cabbage-do-yoga-run-plenty-drink-carrot-juice' fiasco.
But in September, I have returned from a relaxing holiday - as have most of my friends - and I feel ready to sharpen my pencils and don that school tie. I want to learn; to try new recipes; to be sociable; to get out in the countryside; to be creative, and a little bit marvellous. And that feeling usually lasts until, ooh, I don't know...next Wednesday? Until the pressures of work combine with a sense of rhythm that quickly tips into routine. And I get to late November - when the pressure to start writing Christmas cards and making a cake takes over - and realise that, once again, it's all slipped away.
SO...how to keep the misty mellowness a bit longer this year? Here's my 'New Term Resolutions'...
1. Take up a new hobby, and be realistic about how much time there is in the day. Try to advance your skills a little each week. Tell at least one other person, and SHOW them what you've achieved. A bit like creating your very own parents' evening.
2. Keep a journal / pinterest board of what you have written / made / photographed etc. In other words, homework.
3. Cook using seasonal produce and try a new recipe or a new ingredient each week. Buy local to get that holiday buying from the local market feeling.
4. Book ahead - theatre, music, exhibitions etc - instead of just reading the reviews and thinking, 'that would have been good'.
5. Plan for breaks away, including next year's holidays - but don't forget to enjoy where you are now, you chose it for a reason.
6. Get out and kick leaves, feed ducks, stomp in the mud and eat pub lunches.
The cold season is not my friend, and I spend a lot of winter worrying that one or more of my digits will drop off. This year I am determined that it won't get me down. So bring on the roaring fires, the fluffy slippers, the mulled wine and the mittens. C'mon, winter - I'm ready for you. But let me enjoy autumn first.