I've always thought that Labour Day was an unescapable emotional trigger. That every year, it would activate something in me through some strange combination of sense and muscle memory. I would feel that back-to-school rush, that prickling motivation to start something new, that remembered-desire to change everything about myself and start fresh, just in time for the "new year."
But this year, I don't.
It's odd. All the old starters are here. I can hear the kids out at recess after months of silence, there's more traffic on the road, the light seems weaker and all the humidity is gone. It's almost chilly. And still, it doesn't feel like "back-to-school." It feels like any other day. And I'm not sure I like it.
I feel outside of something that seems to be happening to everyone else and it's making me a little sad. Is back-to-school gone forever? Will it come back? Maybe if we had children? Never?
There are two schools of thought on this. Nathan, bless him, thinks I'm being too negative. (Compared to him, I'm always being too negative.) Other people have told me that almost everything remains possible with the right amount of will power. They say, "You can still be anything you want to be. You just have to be willing to take a leap! Ask! Believe! Receive!" (Barf.) And then there are those who think that the opposite is true, that with every day that passes, every choice we make limits our future choices, until our respective paths are, if not definite, then very predictable.
I don't know what I think. Both things are true to an extent. I suppose if I really wanted to, I could change my life, begin again. I mean, I've done it before. (But that was because I had to. If you don't have a choice in the matter, reinvention is a very different thing.) At the same time, it's certainly no longer possible for me to be many things. MOST things. I mean, really. Astronaut? It's never going to happen (even if I wanted it to).
Sometimes I feel like I wasted a lot of my 20s, that I missed out on doing what I should have been doing because I was focussed on something dumb. I don't know ... It's impossible to know how things might have been different. Maybe they wouldn't have been different.
When I started my MA, I was 27, and I remember asking a prof I was friendly with if he thought I was too old to begin grad school. He said no, that he thought I was fine, but he also added that if I had been a bit older, say 30, he would have cautioned me. By 30, he said, he wouldn't advise it. AND THAT WAS SIX YEARS AGO. So I think about that and I think, "Oh well. Another door closed. I guess I'll never get a PHD." I don't even WANT a fucking PHD, I just feel a little sad about not really being allowed to get one, you know?
I think I'm rambling. Anyway, that's this year's back-to-school post in the bag. Maybe nothing's changed at all.