Yes, yes, Sept. As in the seventh month. I know. Except of course it’s not the seventh month at all due to those egotistical Roman Emperors (Julius and Augustus I’m talking about you), who not only slammed their months in the middle of the year and messed up September, October, November and December’s standings as months seven, eight, nine and ten, but also stole days from February in some sort of ‘I’ve got more days in my month than you’ battle that Donald Trump would be proud of. But September, the NINTH month. This is where new things really begin. Not with January.
It has to be said that actually, there is a lot that January 1st and September the 1st have in common. First off, I enter both months always frustrated at my own lack of willpower/gluttony. I am the anti-body (missuse of hyphen intended) to the bikini body. I lounge, I drink, and I eat. Ice-cream, excessive plates of barbecued food. I am essentially a sloth in swimwear. Any work I have done to get in shape is immediately written off the day the schools break up, and childcare evaporates (along with my willpower and any sort of eating/exercise regime). Likewise, in January, you’ll find me reaching for the fat jeans (not those ones, the REALLY fat jeans) and swearing to give up alcohol and eat more healthily. In January 2016 I actually did this. I gave up wine for a month. I lost weight. I felt brilliant. So I started drinking wine again.
But it’s not all about the weight. Resolutions are about so much more than that, and I always struggle to make them in January. You’re at the end of the year. You’re in the middle of winter. Sure, you might want to go on some sort of self-imposed slim down (be it physical or financial, though let’s face it, the bank balance is never terribly healthy post Christmas and heading into what is usually a six week month payday wise), but it’s September where the real mojo seeking occurs. Well for me anyway.
I think this is because it coincides with the end of summer. Yes, yes, Indian summer, blah blah blah. We could *totally* still have one. I have fresh mosquito bites, it is still out there that sun. (Talking of which, does anyone have a failsafe deterrent? Because currently my husband running round the bedroom in his PJs swatting them – with them often winning – is not working out so well. Last night I attempted to fashion myself a DIY mossie net, AKA a fitted sheet, wrapped cocoon like around my body so that I could still hear the buzzing, but thought I was safe. Turns out I must have caught one in the failure of a net with me. My upper arm has a concentrated pattern of bites akin to the skin test they did for my BCG back in 1993. But it’s more itchy. And had I reacted to said skin test this much I wouldn’t have had to have that BCG at all.). I digress. Mosquitoes, wasps and bluebottles aside I love the summer, especially since I moved to Jersey. Reader, I have an actual bone fide SUNTAN. Then there are the beaches, my garden, friends coming to stay, the outside lifestyle. I have had one of the loveliest summers ever. That said, it’s time for the kids to go back to school, say, yesterday. But (and I have a vague recollection of writing something about this last September), with that outside lifestyle comes beer. And lovely eating out on the beach. And a weekly attempt at surfing (people, I can STAND UP now!) or a nice yoga class, does not a routine make. Pootling around St Brelade’s Bay on a kayak does not quantify exercise enough for another pizza and wine eat up. I know. I’ve tried it.
It’s hard of course, to have a routine, when so much around you is up in the air, and you have two children to look after (for which read referee) on a near constant basis. For the third time in a year, I am surrounded by many boxes as we are going to be moving out of our house into a rental while we renovate (which is starting sooner than I can believe). This is something that is personal to me, but it’s gone a way to reinforce that September is not only the end of the summer, and the start of the Autumn, it’s also the perfect time to start afresh. Be it a house. A routine. A resolution.
I love autumn. Sure, I don’t love the morning’s getting darker as I have to wrestle my two children out of bed and into their uniforms, but I love the chill coming into the air, of needing a higher tog duvet on the bed. I don’t love the expense of heating a house with OIL (and have just about *everything* crossed that my current tank will see us through to the move date so I don’t have to order more, only have to unorder it… first world problems eh?), but I do love that I don’t have to shave my legs every day, that I can wear my opaque tights, and that ankle boots are my daily footwear.
The French have a name for this time of year, just as the Scandi countries have their Hygge, France has la rentrée. It quite literally marks the return to life, from their holidays in August (because they all have one), they return, rejuvenated and refreshed, and ready to buy up all the autumnal clothes and enter the autumn as only the incredibly chic French can do. (A little French fashion tip I once read, that has always stayed with me, and yet I have never adhered to, being as I am, a bit of a fan of a bargain…. buy something classic that you love at the start of every season. Be it a boot, a great coat. Buy one thing that you’ll wear forever. Buy quality, and never look back. Never worry about it being reduced, because you’ll have already had so many wears out of it already you simply won’t care.) So why do we look at it with such trepidation? Not the kids going back to school bit, obviously we ALL relish that, but the darkening evenings and the shortening days? Why do we all start to worry about getting SAD and missing the sunlight? I think that really what we should do is embrace it. To relish the return to normality. To thank our lucky stars if we’ve been able to have a holiday (in any form). And to focus on the months ahead. I think perhaps the education system has the calendar we should all adopt. September should always mark the beginning of new adventures, and the knowledge that summer will come again in just 9 months. By which time I hope that all boxes will be unpacked and sent away for good…