Labor Day

Growing up in New York City, Labor Day was always bittersweet.  On the one hand, it signaled the end of warm, carefree days spent without any obligations.  On the other hand, it also signaled a fresh start through blank pages, pristine erasers and new clothes.

I still get excited by the start of fall.  Though I desperately claw towards a break each summer, when I reach my parents’ farmhouse in the mountains, it is with a sense of relief, not eagerness. The days pass in a blur, and I walk around a little like a zombie, while my brain and body take time to recharge. By contrast, when I return to San Francisco at the end of the August, I do so with a low-grade electric buzz in my system.  I can’t wait to sweep away the detritus of the previous year and start all over, deciding which goals and projects to keep pursuing, and which ones to let go.  I discard every mental weight and superfluous object in my line of sight.  What I am left with is a clean, simple list filled with nothing but promise.

A few things on this year’s list:

  • Learn new skills: after spending a lot of time teaching and programming CCE, I decided that this year I would make more room for my own education.  I’ve already signed up for a cheese-making workshop and a long-overdue typography course.
  • Be my own client: my part-time job pays most of the bills, but it also means I essentially work three days a week for the same client.  I’ve decided to use the other two days to work mostly on my own projects, and to only take on new client work that really excites me.  After all, the only way I’m going to get hired for the projects I want to do is to first make those projects myself so clients can see examples in my portfolio.
  • Get representation: once the old portfolio is beefed up a little bit, I’m hoping to approach some agencies about representation.  I’m currently finding this difficult to research, so if anyone can share the name of a creative agency they like working with (especially if the agency does props), I would be forever grateful.

Do you have a fall ritual?  Anyone making a fresh start with their career or way of life?  I would love to hear the ways you recalibrate and welcome fall.

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