You Win Some, You Learn Some

jill newsletterWith the end of summer comes the beginning of new beginnings, but sometimes we have to start less than ready. We have to fight inertia and jump right in. We have to launch out of our cozy existence. It’s like a Sunday after having not accomplished every bit of what you wanted and starting with the Mondays all over again. Saying goodbye to summer can suck and I have been receiving calls and texts from concerned parents and nervous teen clients all week. School is here in my neck of the woods and close on the heels of summer nationwide.

What school age kid really wants summer break to end? Hell, I don’t want it to end, but it’s time for work and financial replenishment after a whirlwind summer of travel and family.One of my girls got the teacher she wanted and all of her favorite friends in class. The other daughter, not so much, although it’s hard to tell with that one due to early onset preteen ‘tude. Nothing seems quite good enough these days (I’ll save that topic for a different blog post).

When I was growing up there were not really any options but to suck it up and go to school, but with the many options of virtual schooling these days, it leaves many wondering why put up with the misery that is institutional learning and drudgery? I know many teens that are begging for this option. They want to avoid that whole awkward teenage blues phase.

How do we build character and a sense of compassion for the next generation if we don’t endure a bit of the misery ourselves?! High school and the completion of such is a rite of passage. I don’t know many adults who would actually opt to go back to their teen years and relive high school but there is also a badge of honor for having survived the trials, tribulations and humiliations.

As parents we don’t wish the litany of trespasses our teens will likely face in high school, from embarrassment (or worse, devastation) of rejection to the endless burden of negotiating friendship to the roller coaster effects of hormones on our teens. Yet, we must also wonder if they skip out on all of this discomfort how they build character and begin to determine what kind of relationships they want. They skip over developmental tasks if they completely drop out of the training ground that is high school–far beyond academics.

Even before I had kids I always felt the beginning of the school year was a fresh start, a time to get “back to business”. The changing of seasons is always an opportunity to grow, shift and change focus. Throughout my childhood we always traveled during the summer months and after college for many years I lead backcountry trips, taking a break from my career and job during the other three seasons. My entire life, I have been programmed to explore and renew during the summer months. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to do this and have craftily created a life in which this time of discovery is still possible. I look forward to it all year. I live passionately and with unscheduled abandon during this more carefree time of travel and it’s a challenge for me re-engage in school schedules and daily responsibilities.

I am in the phase of re-entry now as summer break dies down and schedules kick into gear. We’ve all heard that adage we teach what we most need to learn. With this in mind I have created a set of intentions to kick-start this next season.

Here is my back to school survival manifestoGood for all ages and stages. I need it just as much as you do. Let’s GO!

– The more accepting you are of life’s adventures and misadventures, the more fun you will have.

– Be kind to your teachers and believe that the “hardest” ones will be your best assets later in life. P.S. EVERY one you encounter is your teacher, you’ll figure that out at some point.

– Friends come and go throughout your life, but the passion and creativity you put into your own life, towards your own vision will sustain a life you love forever.

– Do what you must to have something to look forward to every day.

– Nothing lasts forever. That atrocious zit, algebra, the teacher you didn’t want, chocolate, your favorite song, painful breakups; all the good and all the bad will pass and a lot of it you can’t control, so accept, learn and move on.

– The only thing you can control is your attitude. This is the ultimate human freedom. It’s also your responsibility.

– You win some, you learn some; there is no losing.

– Actions speak louder than words, but swear words speak volumes. Use them wisely and sparingly.

– It’s never too late to start the day over (borrowed from Michael Franti).

– Reach out and ask for help (always, always, always). There is someone out there that is waiting for you. In helping you, they grow and gain something.

– Help those with less power, less prestige and a sad face. Everyone is dealing with something you know nothing about. Reach out to them.

– The true character of a person is revealed by how they treat the person with whom they have nothing to gain.

– There are more than 6 billion types of beautiful on this planet. You are one of them. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

As I left my beloved Boulder crying and the friends I adore, my close friend shared this Dr. Seuss quote with me: “don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”Move forward, onward and with the mindset that you are in creation of your life. New beginnings here we all come, every minute of every day is an opportunity to begin again.

Manifest your manifesto!

In loving-kindness,

Jill Wheeler


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