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Rachel Baum

A love note to September

Published 9 months ago • 3 min read

Happy Fall! We’re not there officially yet, but here in Wisconsin, the air already feels crisper. Fall is my favorite season – I love the cooler weather, warm drinks, the beginning of school, and the New Year.

The Jewish New Year begins on Friday, the 15th. For me, it’s wrapped up with the beginning of school. New beginnings. I love them all. The first of the year. An unused notebook. Sometimes even Mondays.

New beginnings are great, aren't they? We love shaking the etch-a-sketch and starting fresh. We say, This time, I’ll do things differently. I’ll toss my junk mail as soon as it comes into the house. I’ll give up my nightly glass of wine. I won’t get behind on my work. I'll be more patient. I’ll spend less. The first day of the year is filled with possibility.

But then when we make a mistake, we feel like we’ve blown it. The first spill in our new car. The day we get behind, impulsively buy that overpriced gadget, or yell at the dog for tracking mud into the house.

That’s a good time to remember September.

September holds, for some of us, the start of a new year. But also, it’s the ninth month of the secular calendar. It is new and not new. If you follow the Chinese new year, you also get to start the year again. New and not new.

We get personal new years as well. Our birthday. Our anniversaries -- of a relationship, a job start, the day we gave up a habit, the day we started a habit. New and not new.

It’s true for us too. We are new and not new.

I love the Jewish teaching about the new year, that in life we sometimes miss the mark. Jews spend the month before the new year reflecting on ways in which we could do better. But every year, we have a new list. We get better at some things and continue to work on others.

New and not new.

The books we read, the stories we tell, the foods we eat at the holiday are familiar and yet, also, we are enjoying them this year for the first time. New and not new.

I meet myself with curiosity and love – how beautiful that people can continue to grow and change in the second half of their lives! – and also, sometimes I’m tired of my own patterns and habits. New and not new.

I love new beginnings and also, continued stories. The start of a new book series and also, the familiarity of beloved characters. Traditions and also changes. Embracing both new and not new is a gift.

This week, when your own perfectionism rears its head, when you find yourself saying, “Why am I still struggling with this, at my age?” remind yourself that you too are both new and not new. When your focus alights on the “not new,” remember to also see all the newness there, your own capacity to be delighted, to change, to learn new things, to be surprised.

And when you find yourself focusing on the “new,” on feeling like you are just starting so many things, that you don’t know how to be an empty nester, a caretaker for your parents, how to start a new job in your 50s, remember too the “not new,” that you carry with you always the depth and wisdom of decades.

New and not new.

Happy new year! And, happy not-new year! ❤️


One way we're often "not new" is how we talk to ourselves and how we think about ourselves. Adding some "newness" can make a big difference, even if the change is just a slight tweak. That's the topic of this week's podcast, which focuses on the power of seeing yourself as a creator.

Episode #67: An antidote to auto-pilot

"Letting the days go by . . . " Remember that song by the Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime? It describes how we find ourselves doing things, living our lives, but wondering "How did I get here?"

That's auto-pilot. And in this episode, I offer one antidote to this kind of sleepwalking. It's a simple mindset shift that changes how we think about ourselves, which changes everything.

Love, Rachel

P.S. The soundtrack to this love note is, of course, Earth, Wind, and Fire's song, September.

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P.P.S. Two of my favorite people have September birthdays -- My daughter, Zoey, and my sister, Carrie. My sister's birthday is actually the 15th, so she gets two new years this year. Happy birthday month to Zoey & Carrie, and to everyone celebrating a new-not-new anniversary this month.

⭐ I love being connected to you ⭐

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Rachel Baum

Certified Life Coach and host of the Making Midlife Magic podcast

I'm a life coach, college professor, and former president of the Overthinkers Club. Also, I host the Making Midlife Magic podcast. I love helping middle aged people dream again and create lives they love. Sign up to get inspiring mind shifts sent right to your email box. I don't over-send, and you can unsubscribe any time. This March & April I'm celebrating my podcast-versary with some delightful giveaways, so now is a great time to sign up!

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