I suspect that, as a kid, I was a little excited about Labor Day, the start of the school year and time to reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen all summer.

When I was a corporate drone in workplaces so intense I noticed little of the world outside of the office, I barely had the energy to notice, let alone celebrate, Labor Day

As a teacher with the luxury of spending the whole summer at my beloved Jersey shore, Labor Day weekend was not a happy time. I cried so hard – sobbing, ugly cry – during the entire 75-mile drive home one year, I’m still not sure how I made it safely across the Delaware River.

Labor Day was different this year.

In the words of the prophet story teller Jimmy Buffett, “it’s been quite a summer.”

After spending the last three months caring for my mom through her final decline and passing, I’m feeling something I’ve never felt before: gladness that summer’s over.

I don’t regret a single moment or action or decision.

I’m grateful for the learning and the love and the mystery.

I know my beloved seashore is still there as surely as my mom’s spirit is still guiding me, and you can bet I’ll be communing with her on the boardwalk soon during “locals’ summer.”

I am so ready to turn the page to a new season, I’m even willing to tone down my tirades about pumpkin spice everything and (try to) accept that sunset in the middle of the afternoon simply means we’re that much closer to spring.

I’m also curious about how What I Learned on My Not Really Much of a Summer Vacation will show up in my work in the world. Here are a few things I think will have a lasting influence:

Coaching Works

Whether it was a call with a colleague, a session working through a coaching tool in my journal, or simply accessing and trusting all that I’ve learned over the past eight or so years, training as a coach, getting coached, and being a coach made all the difference to me this summer and are gifts for which I will always be grateful.

Values, Strengths, and Priorities Matter

Knowing and leveraging your values and strengths and having the clarity and courage to hold strong boundaries around your priorities are godsends in times of crisis. They’re too easy to forget when the crisis passes, and I’m looking forward to paying more attention to values, strengths and priorities – and helping others do the same – in the (hopefully) calmer seas I’ll be navigating soon.

Positive Energy Transcends Time and Space

In person visits from local friends and neighbors, emails from colleagues, energetic support literally from around the planet, some in forms I don’t quite understand, from people I know well and hold dear as well as from folks I’ve never met in person – not to mention Facebook posts of pets, kids, and vacation adventures – all made a positive difference every single day.

Whether you’re mourning the end of summer or psyched about fall, reluctant to wipe the sand from between your toes or already wearing your favorite sweater – heat wave, be damned – happy unofficial start of fall to all of us.

Let’s make it a great one, whatever it brings, shall we?

After all, it’s only nine months until Memorial Day weekend or as my shore-loving friends say, Nirvana.


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