It’s that time of year when stores are filled with school supplies. Teachers are frantically preparing their classrooms, and butterflies are felt from kindergarten to adults. There’s excitement in the air as summer vacations end and new routine begins.

It’s a new beginning. A fresh start. Crisp notebook paper. Freshly sharpened pencils. New crayons. Exciting new beginnings. Growing up, I loved the start of a new school year, mainly for the school supplies. I’ll be honest, I still buy new supplies this time every year. There’s just something about new supplies that symbolizes fresh opportunity. An exciting new beginning.

Exciting for everyone except the one who isn’t ready for the new. The one who loved the way things used to be but is now forced to embrace something new. The one stuck in the middle. The wait.

It’s the student who didn’t quite make it last year. The one who needed extra time and got held back to repeat a grade. This time of year isn’t an exciting fresh start for some.

It’s the mom who started working full time again and doesn’t get to walk her kids to class on their first day of school. Stuck in the middle between her old life and her new life. The middle isn’t always easy.

A fresh start is a gift but not always a welcomed one. The woman who received a promotion and starts in her new position on Monday, but her sweet spot was in her former position doing what she loved. The one scheduled to move, only to find out plans changed and now it’s time to start over in the same city. The divorced couple each building a new life on their own. New beginnings are a gift but not always welcome.

How do we embrace a fresh start? I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’ve had more a few of my own new beginnings. Moving to a new school several times in elementary, my parents’ divorce and a cross country move which started a whole new life for me as a teenager, my own divorce and navigating a new life as a single mom of three. Add in new careers, new love, new new new.

How do we make the most of a new beginning?

  1. Consider the possibilities. What potential does this new beginning bring? What good can come as a result of this new start? Picture the opportunity. Write it down. Embrace the possibility.
  2. Live in the present. Yesterday may have been beautiful, but it’s over. Done. We only have one chance at today. Make this new beginning count by being present today.
  3. Focus on someone else’s fresh start. Take our eyes off ourselves and focus on making sure someone else has the best possible fresh start. By helping someone else, our own perspective shifts dramatically.
  4. Find the beauty. In every opportunity, every human exchange, every fresh start, there is beauty just waiting to be found. Look for it. Recognize it. Call it out. Allow ourselves to enjoy the beauty.
  5. Savor the new beginning. Don’t rush through it trying to get to the new routine. Enjoy the awkwardness and the uncertainty of something new for what it is.

Let’s grab our backpacks and head out to the first day, embracing our butterflies and making the most of our new beginning.

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