In a slightly odd twist of fate, I’ve gone back to school. My old school. Nearly five years after I skipped out the front door with my exam results and King’s College London future in hand, I was back, this time as staff. It was dizzying and unexpected. Just as I finished my Master’s and started looking for my first, proper adult job in earnest, the school advertised for a Marketing & Communications Assistant. The job description was too good to resist: manage all their social media, create content for their website and school blog, create content for and design their termly newsletters and annual magazine, and more.
And the idea of going back was also too good to resist. I’d always loved my school. I’d loved the teachers; the old, homely, sprawling building; the smell of the old mahogany wood; the daily community events that kept school life going and made it my second home. I’d loved that feeling of comfort that walking through the door each morning brought me. When I left, I missed it. I missed the familiarity; the certainty and security that those walls had provided me.
Going back just made sense. Of course. It was a bit like I was coming full circle, but not really. Because I knew that my school was going to become now what it had been for me before – an opportunity. A starting point. A diving board. The job was going to give me what my education had also given me: an exciting future.
So, I’ve gone back to school. I’ve been working there for five months now. And as a comforting little by-product of my return to school, I find myself still thinking in terms of academic years. The September to September calendar view didn’t end with my last year of university. This September was just another beginning, just as it always has been in my mind since I first went to school when I was six. It’s a fresh start. It’s an opportunity. It’s preceded by a month of pause and reflect and clarity so that it can be a month of change.
This August was spent pausing on everything that’s changed in my life in the past six months. I got a little overwhelmed by it all – change, even good change, tends to bewilder me emotionally. I lost sight of myself, for a while. It all just happened so quickly: finishing my Master’s, finishing university, starting an adult job, moving out of my childhood home, moving in with him. I left a lot behind and that was hard. So I paused and reflected on all that change that had, for a moment, threatened to drown me. I hadn’t felt like myself. And just that moment of reflection did me the world of good. I felt, for the first time since all the wheels of change had started spinning so dizzyingly, that I was able to slow down, pause, look back, smile, and let it all go.
It’s September and I feel lighter than ever. I’m comfortable again. All those things that changed, that made me feel wobbly and uncertain, have settled. I love those things that have changed. Sometimes, when I’m walking home from work, I wonder at how many little dreams have come true. Getting a Distinction. Getting a good job. Moving out. Making a lovely home. I marvel at my life now and how lovely it is. I appreciate so many little things: my commute to work, the Podcasts I listen to, the books I read, the records I play, the food we make, the dog walks I go on, the plants we grow, the garden we’re tending to. Tiny little things like this make me smile, so, so widely.
I wonder what 18-year-old me, skipping out the school front doors, would say if I told her what her life would like right now, at 23. I think she’d smile as widely as I do.