Hello! It’s September, which means that I am fully ready for my first viewing of You’ve Got Mail and have spent some time eyeing my sweaters, but I am still sweating every afternoon and using my air conditioner. In California, true fall weather is probably at least a month out, but in my heart, I am ready.
Over here in my world, school is well under way, and I am enjoying my students so far. We are still early in the year, so there are still routines to work out, schedule changes, and other little hiccups. I don’t quite have my teacher’s “sea legs” back, but we are getting there. Personally, I’m a fan of the part of the year where everyone understands the routines and things run like clockwork, but that requires some hard work now to get the payoff later. Teaching is a lot like life, right?
For most of my life, I’ve really dreaded fall and winter. I like the holidays well enough, but I miss the sunshine and freedom. This year, I’m finding myself feeling ready for some chillier weather, to shift into soup mode, and grateful for the fact that no season (both literal or metaphorical) lasts forever. I’m trying to embrace the fact that soon it will be cold and damp, that stone fruit and berries won’t be at their best, and that it will be too cold for afternoons in my pool — but that means that sweatpants and cozy clothes come out, that root veggies and hearty soups will soon be on my table, and that I can snuggle under the covers earlier because it’s dark out. It feels good. Just like the beginning of the teaching year, fall and winter feel like times to put in work so that everything blossoms when it warms up. It helps to trust that before we know it, summer will be here once again.
Wherever you are, I hope you’re feeling the shift into a new season, and that it’s good. Here are some links to keep you company! Sending you love, good vibes, and if I could, a bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils.
— xo, Amy
• Even when you’re not in school, dividing your life into semesters is good motivation. (Vox)
• I really loved this take on happiness from Helen Garner: instead of looking for moments of happiness, notice “moments of extreme interestingness.” Also: how to get more happiness from your social life. (The Guardian, The Atlantic)
• If you are a millennial or older, buckle up for this journey entitled, “Young People Have No Idea What We Used To Do After Work” about life before cell phones. It brought back some memories of a simpler time and also made me feel really, really old. In that vein, as a 40-year-old, “I’m gracefully refusing the slide into cultural irrelevance.” (Slate, NYT Gift Link)
• Some health stuff (I’m mostly fine!) has been investigating some vegan options for my life, and you know our girl Joy has some killer recipes. I’m looking forward to trying carrot and zucchini harvest muffins and creamy curried pumpkin soup. Also, even before my vegan shifts, this simple vegan chocolate cake was what I made for every occasion because it’s THAT GOOD. (Joy The Baker)
• Were you ever obsessed with personality tests? I spent so much time taking them when I was younger, and even now, I still like to know what kind of person I am (if you’re curious: I’m a Taurus sun/Leo moon/Virgo rising, my Meyers-Briggs type is INFJ, and my Enneagram number is 3 wing 4). This writer used a different personality test that identifies the Big Five parts of any personality, and gave herself three months to change her personality. Fascinating. (The Atlantic)
• I value the input of women so much, especially those older than me. I loved this piece featuring advice from women of all ages. (Shondaland)
• I’m a big fan of therapy, and one of the things my therapist and I have spent a lot of time working on is self-compassion. A friend sent me this piece about why self-compassion is healthier than self-confidence, and I loved it. I also highly recommend Kristin Neff’s book about self-compassion. (NYT Gift Link, Bookshop).
• The best books I read last month include the BRILLIANT Sarah Rose Etter’s book, Ripe, and Jane Wong’s Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City. Have you read either? If not, I highly recommend them both! (Bookshop)
• Before you judge me with this next link, I want to be clear that I saved for this and also bought it as a very special treat for myself early this year BUT I cannot and will not shut up about my Opal GE Nugget Ice Maker. It makes me happy every day of my life. Even as iced drinks season comes to an end, it makes me want to host a party with swanky non-alcoholic cocktails just so I can enjoy it in one. My point: if you like a silly little beverage, this is a must-have. (Amazon)
• I’ve been around on the Internet since the days of The Secret and all manner of manifestation practices, and while I think many of them are a little bonkers, I did enjoy this article about the “delulu” trend on TikTok. (Bookshop, Bustle)
• Speaking of TikTok, this post-anesthesia TikTok is easily one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on the internet. Watch all three parts — it’s worth it.
• I have enthusiastically chosen not to have children, but I happily embrace my role as auntie extraordinaire, and my job as an educator means I get to spend a lot of time with kids. I really loved these tips on how to be a supportive adult in a kid’s life including how to clarify that role with their parents. (NPR)
• I love my friends so much, and I also know that sometimes, I need to step it up, especially with folks I lost touch with when COVID had us indoors. I appreciated these tips about how to bring a dead friendship back to life. (TIME)