Not September

Did you ever stay home from school for three days in a row because you were sick? Then you go back on the fourth day and the random kids, who you weren’t really friends with, ask you where you’ve been all week, as if they didn’t already know.

Then your day of discovery begins.

You can tell someone has been sitting at your desk because your Duo-Tangs (do kids still use Duo-Tangs?) aren’t aligned to the right anymore. Your pencil is gone (someone needed it), your chair is different (someone switched it), and a block letter “S” (you know the one) has been drawn on the corner of your desk.

There’s also a wrapper in your desk for reasons I still don’t understand.

It seems to be a universal understanding that if you’re missing from school for more than two days, your desk becomes a garbage disposal.

Everything is different and all you want to do is blend right back in, act like you were never gone, and didn’t watch The Price is Right for the last three days, while eating lunch, and trying to remember what it’s like to breathe through your nose. Nope, not you.

Well, that’s how I feel right now, as I type up this blog post and publish it for all of you to read for the first time in over a month.

This feels a bit awkward, but it shouldn’t. It’s me. Paul. Cue the confetti the cannon!

Alright, that was a good warm-up. Let’s go.

My birthday was exactly a month ago. There wasn’t a blog post about it. There wasn’t a list of, “28 Things I’ve Learned In 28 Years” that I struggled to think of. My birthday just felt like another day this year, for a few reasons I don’t want to mention.

Did you know that unless you publicize your birthday on social media, no one knows it’s your birthday except for maybe two people? Try it at home.

I tried not to be bitter about it, but you don’t forget when people forget your birthday.

September has always been my favourite month of the year. Part of it is because of my birthday. Part of it is the weather. But a big part of it was it felt like the beginning of a new year.

I think having the school year start right after my birthday (sometimes the day of), played into that.

To me, September feels like January more than January feels like January. A renewed sense of purpose permeates my body and carries me into October.

I didn’t feel that this year. And, honestly, I had felt it less and less since I had finished school. All of a sudden, September was lacking everything I had always known it to be.

Part of me is in denial that I am 28. It doesn’t feel real.

And I’m trying to bite my tongue, or in this case, fingertips, and try not to say that, “I’m old!” because I know there is someone out there older than me who will just write in the comments section, “Oh Paul, you’re not old!”, and I’d rather not have to deal with that.

I don’t feel old. There, happy? My age just feels inflated. Swollen, even. Like it just got its wisdom teeth taken out. But not to fear, after a few days the swelling will go down and it’ll be 23 again.

Except it won’t.

I guess I’m just bothered by what the expectations are for someone who is 28. I’m someone who will try to find the joke in most things and oftentimes, I’ll share that on social media.

But while I do that, there are people my age sharing photos of themselves getting married, or buying a house, or getting engaged, or having a kid, or their latest vacation spot.

Side note: Why does it feel like everyone else is always on vacation? I swear, it’s like an international relay race. One person comes back from Italy and they hand the biscotti off to someone who goes to Paris, who comes back and hands the baguette off to the next person to go to Spain. It just never ends.

Can you not just stay home, sit on your couch, and watch football for ten straight hours on Sunday like me? What is in Paris that you can’t see on Google images?

That last line is tongue- in-cheek, but only if you have a problem with what I said.

Maybe I’m just wary of crossing over into the “bad Dad joke” lane of social media content too soon.

Or maybe I’m comparing myself to others, even though everyone says you shouldn’t do that because life moves at a different pace for everyone.

I know. I KNOW. I get all that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t compare. That doesn’t mean I don’t compare. It’s hard not to. Even if you shut yourself off from social media, you still know what people are up to.

And when you get to be 28, the comparisons are no longer about, “What did you get on the exam?” The comparisons are about life.

I can sit here and say it’s weird to see former classmates get married and have kids, but really, it shouldn’t be weird. Of course they’re doing that. They’re adults. They’re almost 30. So, good for them!

But then there’s me – feeling like I’ve been searching for a hot air balloon for the last few years and it’s nowhere to be found. All I should have to do is look up, see it, and let it carry me to where I want to be, but it’s not there.

Where the hell is my hot air balloon?

That’s an alternate title for this post, by the way.

And as I went through September, trying to find a purpose, I just felt overwhelmed by time. I felt like it had sped up on me, without warning. I felt betrayed by the calendar.

I felt trapped. Stuck. Buried beneath the days I’ve already lived.

Does anyone else just sit and recall random memories from their past that involve other people, and wonder if they remember those moments too?

I feel like I have a rolodex (kids definitely don’t use this) of memories that play in my mind like a screensaver. Whenever my mind goes stationary for five minutes, it takes over.

I’ve always had some sort of ESP, or premonitions, or whatever you want to call them. Lately, they’ve been quite strong? Busy? Active? Prevalent? Pick a word, any word.

A few weeks ago, I woke up with the thought that I needed to get my mom a new keychain. When I went to Ottawa in Grade 8, I got her a keychain with a Canadian flag and a moose on it that said, “#1 Mom”. I got one for myself that said, “Paul.” Cue the confetti cannon!

Sorry, did you forget I made reference to a confetti cannon at the start of this post?

Anyway, the letters on her keychain have been falling off one at a time for a while. This isn’t a recent thing, but I woke up that day thinking about needing to replace it as soon as possible.

Well, later that day, my sister (who was on vacation – it’s a global epidemic) sent me a picture of that keychain with my name on it and said, “Look what I found!”

She had no idea I had thought about that keychain that morning. I told her to buy the one that said, “#1 Mom”. She did. Bam. Keychain replaced in less than 24 hours.

Weird, right? Normal for me, though.

Want another story? Good because this blog post is off the rails.

Yesterday afternoon, I sang in my head, “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life.”

I don’t know why I was reciting the lyrics to, “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. That song is not on any of my playlists. I don’t listen to it. I just have it lodged in my brain from the early 2000s. Outside of that, I have no connection to it.

Fast-forward to the evening and I’m watching an episode of The Good Place and doesn’t one of the characters start singing, “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life.”

Really. Can’t make this stuff up.

Sometimes I’ll pick up a book and read the next chapter without even thinking to myself, “I’m going to read now.” I just do it. And then something I read is something that could be applicable to my life at that moment.

Signs and hints and clues are everywhere around us, aren’t they?

Not to get all horoscopial (this isn’t a word) or spirituolo (neither is this) on you here, but whenever things like that happen, it makes me feel like someone is looking out for me and sending signals my way to say everything will be okay.

All I wanted to do in September was come on here and write about a bunch of things, but something kept holding the words back.

But, it’s not September anymore, so here they are.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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31 Responses to Not September

  1. Paul, honestly I’ve been missing your posts. I’ve been wondering where you’ve been! I’m glad you’re back, even if it’s with such a contemplative post.

    And to let your mind be at ease: yes we still use duotangs lol all 47 of my students have 4 each! A different colour for each subject lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank goodness they still use them! I always liked them more than binders for some reason. And thank you for spelling it as “duotangs” because I Googled them and it was spelled “Duo-Tangs” and it looked weird lol

      Liked by 2 people

  2. happy belated birthday Paul .. 🧁🥂 cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  3. peckapalooza says:

    First of all, I’ll take responsibility for the S on your desk. Even though everyone knows how to draw it, I like to think of it as my own signature mark. Like tagging a wall or something. I know it’s not mine. I didn’t even come up with the thing… I watched someone in 5th grade make it and I copied them… But none of that matters now, does it?

    A couple weeks ago it actually occurred to me that you hadn’t posted in a while. I figured you were still all right out there because social media. But it’s good to see you back. And I hope that wishing you a happy belated birthday doesn’t come off sounding hollow or meaningless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Aha! The culprit has finally come forward. I feel like 5th grade is when everyone learned how to draw that S.

      And thank you! Not hollow or meaningless at all. I appreciate it! I hope to be more active around here now, I’ve missed this place.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. gsilvosa63 says:

    Ah birthdays! I actually stopped greeting people, who I haven’t communicated actively in a while, whenever social media announces to me that it’s their birthday. Unless, I really know them or we actually engage in active communication. Anyway, for you, I follow your posts and, now that I know, I’m greeting you a belated happy birthday ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First off, I’m glad I’m wasn’t the only one wondering where you’d gone, second here’s wishing you a belated Happy Birthday 🎂🎉🎁🎈.
    Also, I understand exactly how you feel about everything you said, but I will say I remember turning 28, it felt like it was yesterday to me. So live life to its fullest, do what you do and enjoy every second. Keep looking for that hot air ballon, no matter what because one day you will find it (cue the confetti cannon) I guarantee it! 😎👍😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Authoress51 says:

    I can relate. It doesn’t matter what age we are, we always compare ourselves to others. That’s one of the negatives of social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy belated birthday! September is a great birthday month, not quite as good as April, but good! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rebbit7 says:

    Welcome back (and happy belated birthday)! I realize that people are just busier nowadays and mutual friends/people whom we haven’t talked to in a while are just forgotten to bother saying “happy birthday” (not the best thing, but it seems to be that way). I was just talking to a friend recently about Septembers/school starting, and even if I’ve been out of school for several years now, I still think of September as the start of a new year (probably because I worked in the education system for a few years…). Getting older is inevitable, and to some extent there’s a sense of quarter-life crisis at hand, as time seems to be speeding up, running out, etc. But we’re still young, and we’re really only starting “real” life after years of schooling. From this point on, enjoy the ride!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! I really like this comment, I agree with everything you said. There’s just a newness to the month of September that I don’t feel any other time of year. And yes, the quart-life crisis thing is real even though people older than us are probably wondering what the heck we’re talking about lol

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bex says:

    I have to admit, I actively searched for your blog to see if you had in fact posted anything that just didn’t make it on to my reader… twice, in your absence. I hope you had cake on your birthday, otherwise it really was just another day, and for someone with a confetti cannon, that just won’t do!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. micqu says:

    There you are… I was worried for a moment.
    Thank you for this honest post. I felt the same when I was your age, but I was on the other side. I was the married one with 3 kids and a house, no one else had that and it felt weird.
    We put more pressure on ourselves than others do, and we are less forgiving too.

    The stories about the signs in your life are intriguing. It’s the little things that other people don’t see. I like that about you.

    How do you like ‘The Good Place’? I forking loved it. I haven’t seen the last episodes yet, no spoiler.

    Paul, I am glad to have you back. And I apologize, I did not get in touch on social media and there is no excuse for that. *big hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! No need to apologize, I just think I needed a break from blogging.

      I love The Good Place! It’s a nice, fun, relaxing show that doesn’t take anything too seriously. Too bad this is the final season.


  11. Dutch Lion says:

    Great stuff Paul. Love you man. Keep up the great writing. Missed you.

    You: “Does anyone else just sit and recall random memories from their past that involve other people, and wonder if they remember those moments too?”

    YES! I’ve been thinking about this girl recently. I dated her in college and I’m so curious if she remembers things the way I do.

    You: “I’ve always had some sort of ESP, or premonitions, or whatever you want to call them.”

    Me too. I go in streaks with this. Sometimes it is so eerie. The other day I was singing a song, just like you, it was an old tune that nobody ever sings anymore. Later that day I heard it on the radio. It was freaky bizarre man. I’d like to think those are weird signs from someone we know in heaven. Like my dad died ten years ago. He’s probably up there laughing as he sends me these weird inside jokes. I love it. Life is just so grand.

    Great to have you back,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks Reid! Glad to be back. Isn’t it crazy how sometimes we can think about something randomly and then it appears in our life later on? Oh man, your dad is definitely up there concocting signs to send your way.

      I just got your notification about the fantasy hockey league. Unfortunately it’s not happening this year. I don’t think all 8 teams in our league were coming back and I was feeling too burnt out from baseball and football to take on hockey again this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bryan Fagan says:

    You asked what the expectations are when you’re 28?

    My good man, I was back in school living in a dorm surrounded by 18 to 24 year old’s. I didn’t feel like the oldest and I didn’t care. I was as lost as they were, well….most, but somehow I made it. I did things my way.

    You’re doing things your way. Don’t compare. They are not you. There’s only one Paul.

    Happy Birthday, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks, Bryan! Really appreciate this comment. I think, growing up, we all have this idea in our head that people who are 25+ know what they’re doing. And yet, when I was in my first year of university, there was a 25 year old living on my floor. We became good friends that year, but in the back of my mind I always found it a bit weird that he was still there with us. Now, I don’t find it weird at all. I completely understand.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. mydangblog says:

    Happy belated birthday! Those little moments of kismet are you just being so in tune with the universe. Everyone has the opportunity to do that, but most people don’t pay attention. Enjoy being 28, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Also, The Good Place is an awesome show:-)

    Liked by 2 people

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