Autumn angst.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my primary sources of income were nannying and teaching theatre to very little kids. They were great jobs; I got to be in a city I loved, surrounded by kids I loved, helping smallish people to grow into kind, artistic people (whom I still love).

There was no better time of year to do all this than in the Fall, when everything suddenly seemed excitingly cozy. There was something so nesty about September and October; having new adventures closer to home for the younger set, and diving headlong into classrooms for the sparkling-clean backpack crew. Combining the newness with the knowledge of imminent hibernation formed its own kind of energy, and one that I’ve anticipated ever since I was old enough to Velcro my own TrapperKeeper (…a few years back).


(Baby Julia was like- get your own kid, amiright?)

But it also sparked this type of melancholy alongside the nostalgia- or maybe it was melancholy for the nostalgia? Because my walking commutes took me past brownstones and playlots, and the post-school mayhem always reminded me that, at least in my case, those days were both long past and in the far future. I had zero homework worksheets to complete on my own and no one really cared if I set the table. Similarly, it would be a good while before I had to- exasperatedly- ask about permission slips and scoot everyone home in time for supper.

Even then, in my unbelievably well-rested twenties, I knew I wanted that. I both missed my childhood and longed for the childhoods of my future kids. Catching a glimpse at family scenes through picture windows and on front stoops (like the creepy creeper I apparently was) made me feel other in a very “I’m not in second grade/I don’t have a second grader in a homey autumnal afterschool situation.”

Very specific.

Two thoughts about this:

Recently, I came to the gasp-inducing realization that those kids whose Fall activities I envied are now a full 10 to 15 years older and are most certainly college-aged and beyond now. (Perhaps experiencing their own autumn angst?)

I once again have this home life situation going on. I have, among other people, a second grader residing in my very house.

And, okay, a third thing.

I feel preemptive melancholic nostalgia for the time when I will once again neither have nor be a school-aged child. 

Proving that:

Once you know how hard and fast time moves, you realize that it will absolutely continue to move in exactly that same way.

Childhood is wonderful.

Childhood is capable of making incredibly powerful memories even in the most mundane of activities.

Therapy is- and should be- for everyone.

(Happy Fall, you guys.)



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