Back-to-school feeling — sort of…..

by Radio Somewhere

I never had kids and so the back-to-school ritual is only a first-person experience for me. But I spent many years in academia as a graduate student, postdoc, and then faculty member — so, well into adulthood, August was often about packing up and moving somewhere to start a new adventure.

That is long behind me now — but somehow, I seem to find new situations at this time of the year. Two weeks from today, I start a new job, and I am feeling that back-to-school excitement, anticipation — and just a little nervousness. I enjoy filling out forms for HR, getting my keys and ID etc — and setting up Outlook. And, of course, it’s fun meeting the people you will be spending the next chapter of your life with.

But right now I’m having fun planning another aspect of the back-to-school experience — shopping!

For the last couple of years, I have been working only part time and have been living very frugally. I have not bought any new clothes and have been wearing the same black pants and black shoes with one of two blouses to interviews. I kept the ensemble hanging safely in the closet, and I took out the pants every couple of months to make sure they still fit. My summer shoes are seven years old, but being Skechers, they have lasted very well. My winter boots, bought from The North Face four years ago, have duct tape in the inside and Shoo-goo on the undersides. Most of my skirts, shirts and pants are worn, tattered and stained — not in good enough condition for Goodwill even!

So I am looking forward to clearing out all the old stuff and building a whole new wardrobe around the few items I have that are still in good shape. I like the skirts/leggings/boots look — absolutely made for Seattle winters, and it will be very acceptable in the workplace I’m headed for. For skirts, I favor thrift stores, but I will probably buy new boots.

I don’t usually look forward to buying footwear. I don’t have the “shoe thing” us women are supposed to have. Ideally, I would have only two pairs of shoes — one for winter and one for summer — and that is always uppermost in my mind when I go shopping, especially for boots. But it will be fun this time!

I won’t buy a lunchbox though! I don’t like an extra thing to carry, and a plastic-wrapped sandwich fits nicely in my bag next to my travel coffee mug. I suppose I could replace my old coffee mug. It certainly looks battered enough — but I’m rather proud of the well-worn look.

And there’s a really good coffee shop just down the street!