Today is the first day of school. In our house, that usually means Rik stays up too late the night before, sweating over his curriculum, and then doesn't sleep so well. Of course, he also says that it's the best day of the year (and that the last day of school is the second best day of the year). If ever those two things change, that's when he will stop teaching.
Since we don't have children, I am grateful for Rik's profession as a reminder of the new beginnings that happen at this time of year. It's important to have opportunities to start fresh. Throughout the year, I find myself taking advantage of the first day of school, Rosh Hashanah, New Year's Day, Tu B'Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day) and even Pesach as milestones of new beginnings.
For me. new beginnings mean I've made it through another year. Cancer hasn't gotten the upper hand if I can enjoy a fresh start. Birthdays and anniversaries fall into this category too.
Once diagnosed with metastatic disease, I used to live from month to month, then from quarter to quarter. I remember the first time I made plans a year in advance. We were eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day. (In case you've ever wondered, that's what Jews do on Christmas -- eat Chinese food and go to the movies.) We were a large party, the restaurant was crowded and the service couldn't keep up with the demand. I said to a friend, "Next year we should come for lunch instead of dinner." Much later I realized that I had made a plan for the following year.
Those of us who have cancer believe we know that cancer will kill us; just not when. Maybe this is why I am more conscious of new beginnings and annual milestones -- I am not certain if I will be around to celebrate them again, so they are even more precious to me.