The weather is cooling, a sign that fall is coming… my favorite season!
Fall is sweater weather and suede boots.
Fall is colorful foliage, picking crisp apples in the cool air, and football Saturdays. (Or, at least, the memory of college football and the hope for the return…)
And fall is back to school which kids are supposed to dread but I always loved.
Each fall for me as a student meant new people to meet, new things to learn, and beginning the year with a perfect GPA and attendance record and dreams of keeping it that way. It never lasted, but it was always exciting to think it could.
(OK, I admit to being a bit of a nerd to be so excited about the start of school. But the fact that for years my kids would eagerly jump out of bed on the first day of school, something they did not do for the remainder of the school year, means they were a little excited about it too…)
Even with the school year in flux with remote learning or hybrid cohort schedules, fall means a return to the classroom, even if not the traditional one. So we’re prepping as we usually do, shopping for those all-important school supplies.
As a kid, there was nothing I loved more than to begin the year with unblemished notebooks, sharp pencils, and my favorite, a brand new box of 64-count Crayola crayons.
It wasn’t that I didn’t already have (several) boxes of perfectly usable crayons. But they had been peeled and blunted, their perfect points mashed down to stubs. If the supply list called for crayons, I’d beg for a new box. There was something so promising about those bright perfect points, fresh and ready for use. I’d even take the time to remove all the crayons, color-coordinate them, and put them back in the box in the most visually appealing manner. Anyone else do the same or I am just a little OCD?
(It’s oddly satisfying, like discovering you are the first to put the knife or spoon in that new jar of peanut butter… I guess that makes me a condiment nerd as well…)
In time, of course, the crayons got used, the notebooks filled. And in time, the school supply lists no longer included fun, colorful items like crayons and markers but protractors and calculators and large-size binders. Now, those supplies include another iPhone replacement charger, a bullet journal and more Keurig coffee pods.
These days, I mostly bemoan the exorbitant cost of all those school supplies and ask my kids why can’t they use what’s leftover from the prior school year. Do they really need a new backpack? Can’t we just fix that broken zipper? But I recall my own excitement over school supply shopping and so I buy in – literally – because I know it won’t last.
And I think there’s a lesson in it that ties into storytelling. It’s the opportunity to start a new chapter, to freshen up your own supply list. We’re no longer in school but there’s so much still to learn and be excited about.
Make the most of the upcoming season – the sweaters and suede boots, the dreams of college football, and the foliage. Enjoy the Crayola-like colors, vivid and bright, and the opportunity to start fresh and anew.
(And if you’re so inclined, buy that new jar of peanut butter too and enjoy that oddly satisfying first dip into the top… The opportunity comes only so often).
Valerie Gordon is an award-winning television producer, content creator, and the founder of The Storytelling Strategist and the Commander-in-She blog. She offers keynote presentations, group workshops, and virtual training, helping clients with the storytelling skills necessary to ascend the leadership ladder and create satisfying next chapters.