Why I dislike September but love October

Is September over yet?

I’m ready to be done with it. I prefer October.

In fact, I absolutely love October as much as I dislike September. Here’s why:

  1. It’s my birthday month.
  2. It’s not hot anymore.
  3. The autumn leaves in Virginia are spectacular. And fall lasts the whole month here, unlike my native Minnesota, which is also beautiful, but where fall can start and stop in the same week. Not even kidding.
  4. I can wear all my sweaters and boots again, even on warm days, because it’s fall, and that’s what you do, even if it’s not cold yet.
  5. Decorating is fun. Who doesn’t love a pumpkin?
  6. September is over.

I have a history of disliking September. I’m a mom and a teacher, so September marks the ramp-up of everything I was eagerly anticipating in August, but two weeks into September, I can’t remember how I juggled it all. I don’t even have school-aged kids anymore, and this month is killing me. It’s my first September in 20 years that I’m not making lunches and watching someone leave for school–

And I’m exhausted. (Click here to read “What to do when you’re tired.”)

I’m teaching again, after taking a break from it to focus on writing and my family. I love teaching. But I’m astonished that I had forgotten about how much time it takes to lesson-plan, email, and grade. I’m doing Mythology right now with my high schoolers, and I’ve read it a billion times, but I can’t remember who did what (even though those Greeks are so predictable). But we’re also watching movie clips of mythology action films, so that’s cool for everybody. (Click here for “What everyone can learn during back-to-school.”)

I’m launching a book. You probably know that and you’re tired of hearing about it. I’m sorry. I just hadn’t realized how many details are involved with marketing something, even when you have a publisher who is also marketing. I’m literally drowning in emails, merchandise, bookings, and promoting. This is actually my second book, but the first one was so long ago, everything has changed since then.

Does it ever surprise you that life’s big blessings suck up most of your time and energy? I thought that just applied to having kids, but apparently not.

You can buy Soulspeak from Amazon, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Target, or other online media outlets. Bookstores coming. (Hence, the marketing.)

I’m on the road a little. Book tables, speaking events. It’s been fun because I have a wonderful friend who has let me railroad her into working an Apple Square and selling books while I sign copies and talk to people. (Under pressure, I’m not so good with technology or people.) She helped me make a cue card for my first event because talking to strangers about my book somehow turned me into a complete idiot. The weirdest things were coming out of my mouth.

Apparently, fielding questions about yourself and your work can be intimidating. I’m sticking to what God is doing from here on out. He is much easier to talk about, and he doesn’t say weird, awkward things.

This is a picture of me selling books at my book table, at a women's event.
Selling books at the Assembly of God Potomac District Women’s VOICE conference.

I’m utilizing a lot of friends and planning a lot of thank-you gifts this month. I like that, but it carries a little pressure with it because I don’t want to screw it up. As it turns out, when you work hard for a long period of time doing things that nobody notices, you find out later that what you’ve done really did matter to people after all. And after twenty or thirty years, when you need some help with signs and invites and merchandising and endorsing and party-throwing, people are willing to step into the ring and do so much for you, because they did notice after all. I’m truly overwhelmed with gratitude and unworthiness. Which is a great place to be. I should really park here and order Uber eats. (Click here to read a prayer “Thank you for love of friends and family.”)

For some reason, I’m drawn to things that require huge amounts of emotional energy and a truckload of perseverance with no money and no kudos. Ministry, teaching, parenting, artistry: these are the vocations to which I have felt called. They fill me up, and they also drain me. I imagine that other people feel the same way about the things they feel called to do. What do you think? (Click here to read “How your calling is formed.”)

I suppose that anything worthwhile is draining. If it doesn’t drain you on some level, you’re holding back, playing life a little too safe. The trick is to stop the draining before you dry up. Keep that faucet running. You must have creativity and excitement and passion pouring in, if creativity, excitement, and passion are pouring out.

Metaphorically, I’m a big bathtub with an unclogged drain. Water coming in and water going out.

I just don’t like being a bathtub in September. I can never get the flow quite right. The coming in goes too slowly, and the pouring out goes too fast. But somehow, by October 1, I have figured it out again.

Or maybe I’ve just arrived at a new level of idiocy. I’ll let you know October 1.

A picture of me sitting on steps, smiling a little. I'm looking very calm. So unlike me.
This is me, pretending to be calm and very Octoberish before it’s actually October.

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