I'm sure I'm not the only one shocked to see September on the calendar today, but as that reality hits us during this three-day Labor Day weekend, it provides plenty of opportunity to reflect on upcoming changes.
Not just in the color of the leaves, but in our day-to-day lives.
Kids in school and parents with school-age kids already have plenty of built-in changes in their schedules, but even for those of us whose jobs and activities don't necessitate such major adjustments, shifting gears can be healthy for everyone from time to time.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter underheaven," reads Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Being a beach bum - that season is over. Being a football fanatic - that season is just beginning!
Maybe something as simple as putting on a jacket helps slap me out of a summer rut. I don't know about you, but there's nothing I hate more than feeling in a rut, and anything that prevents me from slipping into one is a good thing.
Cold weather works, which is probably one reason I love the Midwest. I think I'd go crazy if the only changes in weather were between a wet season and a dry season, or 90 degrees and 70 degrees.
Election season certainly works, too. Sometimes I feel like America is entrenched in an unhealthy rut as it relates to the two-party system, but at least with such a monumental election on the horizon, it pushes us all to familiarize ourselves with the candidates, challenge the status quo and make informed decisions about our future.
Football certainly works for me, too. Go Pack Go, and Go Blue! I love baseball, basketball, soccer - basically if it's a sport, I'll watch it, play it, analyze it, talk about it. You get the idea, but even changing sports seasons are refreshing.
Maybe it's the roller coaster the Tigers have put me on this year, or just the monotony of only one major professional sport going at once, but I'm more excited than ever for football and several other sports on the horizon.
My job as a news/sports reporter shifts from about 70 percent news and 30 percent sports to about 70 percent sports and 30 percent news during the next seven or so months, and that alone puts a little kick in my step. I'll feel the same way when it's time to switch back to primarily news. That's one thing I love about my job: It never even allows me to slip into a rut.
And neither do back-to-school sales.
It's amazing how less depressing school supplies can be now that I'm out of school, but they still somehow have the same general effect of motivating me to mentally challenge myself. That school mindset may just be ingrained in me forever.
But that's healthy, too, I think. You don't have to be in class from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or take 16 college credits to learn. My brain seems to crave a little break and relaxation in the summertime, but now that fall is here, I find myself intellectually challenging myself. I've even cracked open a few old textbooks - for fun!
That may make me completely delusional in some people's eyes, but all I know is, instead of dreading the mental gearshift that subconsciously takes place this time of year, I'm embracing the changes and challenges of a new season, and I'd encourage you to do the same.
I'm Stephen Anderson and I approve this message.
Stephen Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.