October 1, 2023


Dear September, 

In this new-ish job, I've found myself subscribing to quite a few newsletters - some weekly, some monthly, and some that come when the author/writer has time and capacity. I savor these emails, mostly because they're small glimpses into the lives and minds of authors and educators that I admire and who inspire me daily in the work that I do. 

One of them recently shared some thoughtful reflection questions for the month of September and I thought I'd change up things a bit and include some of my thoughts in this month's recap/summary post. I'm curious to see what your answers and responses would be, too! 

Who did you connect with this month? Which connections felt especially nourishing?
I felt most connected to my partner - we've been long distance for the past year and now that we have a house together (that I'm committed to calling a home once we're fully moved in!), it's starting to feel like we're actually going to be in a place where we are together - and not just connecting with each other through text, gifs, and Zoom calls. We spent most of September together and the little moments of visiting each other in our offices in between meetings (we both work remotely), going on dog walks, cooking together, and exploring new neighborhoods have been some of my most favorite and most-nourishing moments. 

We've spent much of the past month focused on the house (painting, furniture, cleaning, etc.), that I started to feel a little burned out by all of the work that the house needed (and still needs). It was no longer fun and we both knew that we needed a weekend off from working on the house. So we took a few weekends this month to go on dates - we ate tortas, went out for ice cream, took the dog swimming, and went on drives in the city. We both felt refreshed and a break and time away was exactly what we needed.

What do you feel proud of having done, or not done, this month?
I've been really trying to determine my capacity - I'm a go-getter and love to work on different projects, especially in my career. But I also know that that tendency of mine (to volunteer for all the things) can lead to stress, overwhelm, and feelings of burnout. I've been on our organization's Well-being Team and I'm trying to live out my work, so to speak, so this month held lots of moments that really put that to the test. 

I'm really the most proud of setting boundaries at work and actually voicing that I was at capacity - mostly mentally, but also just physically. I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of tasks on my to-do list and finally just said that I'm finding myself at capacity for new tasks - which was received with so much understanding, warmth, and grace. As someone who hates saying no to people it was TOUGH, but so necessary and I feel proud of myself for not falling into a people-pleasing trap. 

All that aside, September included new paint on all the walls of the house (a fresh coat of paint makes such a BIG difference, especially now that they're all light and bright!), buying a rug and dining table, finding free furniture in our neighborhood, picking apples and making a pie, exploring college campuses as non-students, making focaccia from scratch, and giving grace to myself in this transition process of figuring out where my home is, too. 

It's been A LOT. But slowly and surely, I know things will all fall into place. 

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall