When I was a kid, I loved the beginning of the school year. At first I believed that I was about to be initiated in the orders of the learned. Even in later years when the anticipation of great knowledge was reduced to the lowest common denominator of cafeteria food and lonely recesses, the dropping temperature and falling leaves of early September that heralded a new school year filled me with anticipation.
The vinyl smell of Trapper Keepers, the hours spent selecting the perfect assortment of peechee folders (Lisa Frank unicorns or hologram boy band?), the stacks of loose leaf paper ostentatiously announcing their recycled content with their dingy gray color – what all of these things represented was a new beginning. Last year all my classes were boring and I had no friends, but who knew what this year might bring?
This might be the year I get a teacher who brings math to life; this might be the year a new student transfers in who loves books as much as I do; this might be the year a single X-wing fighter brings down the Death Star. If January 1 is resolution, the first of day of school is pure opportunity.
This year the first day of school is particularly powerful. My youngest child is beginning kindergarten. Even in this era of full-time infant day care, kindergarten is still a debut of epic proportions, the true entry into society when children begin navigating life as individuals.
For me, the return to school means child-free days and the true beginning of freelance life. Although I quit my day job at the end of May, my primary “income” during the summer was the savings in childcare costs. With the Seattle Public School system providing childcare from 8:30-3:00 every day, I can now start working to expand my client base, pitching daily instead of weekly, confident that I can meet deadlines on any assignments that I get. This will be the year that I prove I can make a living writing without a day job.