In some ways, September feels more like the beginning of a new year than January does. Lots of years of school and university, then being a teacher, and now having school aged children makes it hard to escape the squeaky new shoes feeling that September has.
My older three boys all went back to school this week. My eldest is now at 6th form and the middle ones are at the secondary school round the corner. It feels odd after the summer holidays, but it’s quite nice to get back to a term time routine. It’s also nice to pick up where Cosmo and I left off in the School of Mummy!
Even if you don’t have children or a job in education, or if your children have left their school days behind them, it’s still hard not to notice all the “Back to School” advertising and hoards of school children tripping along in the morning and back again in the afternoon.
As I’ve said before, you don’t need a new year to make a new start, whether it is in January or September! But you might want to embrace the spirit of a new academic year to learn something new or to start a big project.
So here are some ideas of things you can do in September.
Learn a New Skill
Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to learn something new without even having to leave the house if you don’t want to. From YouTube videos, to paid courses, to online classes, if you want to learn something, the information you need is out there.
If you prefer, you could try your local college or adult education centre, or the library. Sometimes art and craft shops run workshops, so it might be worth having a look.
For those of us who enjoy being creative, learning a new creative skill is an obvious choice. You could try:
Hand lettering or calligraphy
English paper piecing
Knitting if you are a crocheter
Crocheting if you are a knitter
Other, less obvious creative things you could learn are:
A musical instrument
Here are some other ideas of skills you could learn:
A foreign language
Coding. You could try Scratch (it’s aimed at children but it’s very good), a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino.
Martial arts. I took up karate a year ago, and although I don’t particularly enjoy the sparring side, I like the drills and the katas. I know it’s good for my health and my energy levels, and I usually feel pretty good afterwards!
Start a New Hobby
If you decide to learn a new skill, that may well become your new hobby. There are things you could try that won’t necessarily require learning anything new. It could be more about using what you already know and what you can already do in a particular way. For example, you could try:
Adult colouring books
Knitting hats for preemie babies
Having a baking day and stocking the freezer
Using art prompts and responding to them in whichever creative way you choose.
Start a Big Project
September is a good time to take on a big project if you have one in mind that you’ve been wanting to start.
Summer is often busy with holidays, and I’m not so keen on woolly crafts when the weather is warm. Christmas chaos won’t set in for another couple of months, so you’ve got time to have a crack at something, like:
A crocheted blanket
A handmade wardrobe
If you tend to be a dreamer with big ideas, but the organisation lets you down and you end up lost in the woods, then breaking the project down into steps can really help.
If those steps are still quite big and feel overwhelming, then you can break them down further into bite sized chunks to make them easier to achieve.
Turning those steps into a list will mean that you can tick things off as you go, and not lose track of where you are.
Take a Step Towards Achieving a Big Dream
Earmark some time where you can have a good think about what you really want from life. Finding a little bit of time when you can be quiet and not be interrupted, rather than when you are busy and rushing around, will allow you to have a proper think. Often I do my best thinking while I’m walking. Alan Turing did his in the bath!
Perhaps you want to design wedding dresses for a living, or run your own business. Or maybe you want to pay off your debt so that you can enjoy your grandchildren.
If you are finding it difficult to identify exactly what it is you want, journaling can help.
Once you’ve figured it out, identify the beginning steps you’ll need to take in order to make it happen. Try to make the steps as small and as easy as you can. Starting is often difficult. You can help yourself by making those first steps easy.
Once you’ve got some momentum, slightly harder things might feel more achievable. I know it’s a cliche, but I love the Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”.
If you like the idea of doing things in the autumn, you might be interested to know that I have an ebook, Things to Make and Do in the Autumn. You can find out more about it here.