It’s (finally!) Spring: 3 Ways to Start Over

Backyard MayI love my yard in springtime. The leaves, the grass, the shrubs all bear that bright green that says they’re starting over. (Though I wish my dog wouldn’t pee on the azaleas and I am jealous of my neighbor winning “Yard of the Month!” She totally deserves it, though. Go, Pam!)

Azalea May

Life can really be nothing BUT starting over. From the very beginning we master crawling but then we have to learn to walk, then to run, then to dance. When you go to school you finish elementary school only to start over in middle school, then you finish high school, just to begin again in college. By the time we’re on our 4th or 5th job, you would think we would be really good at this starting over thing. But that isn’t necessarily true…

I have spent this winter and early spring working on my next book and to be frank, the work has humbled me. I finished the early draft in November with such high hopes, and then I had to start over with the rewrite. I am now on my 5th or 6th version. Such is the writer’s life, I am finding out.

“Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~Calvin Coolidge

So for all of us who have yet to master the starting over gig, here are 3 ways to go about it:

1. Try something you haven’t before

Alex Lickerman on Psychology Today blog

“I really am content enjoying all the things I already enjoy. But straying into foreign lands, both metaphorically and literally, has always forced me to challenge my beliefs. And as painful as that is, nothing, I believe, contributes to our happiness more than shattering the delusions to which we cling, unable as we often are to distinguish between beliefs that are true and beliefs that are false (especially beliefs about ourselves).”

2. Set some goals

From Zen Habits–Really Simple Goal Setting

“The key to simple goal setting is to not have too many goals.”  🙂

3. Keep at it

Claire Gregory on All the World’s Our Page

“Push down the fear, trust all that ingrained knowledge, and keep on practicing. Forget about the destination and keep your focus only as far ahead as your headlights let you see. Sure, you might bump a couple of kerbs or ding your door on a pole now and again- but then it’s easy to forget that we all do that occasionally.”

Is spring a time to start over for you? How do you start over whether it’s new or not?

Smelling the Roses

The Dog–Rhys–and I try to go for a walk once a day around the neighborhood loop. I find it calms me down and resets me for the afternoon when my girls come home from school. He likes to walk more than once a day (or so he tells me), so we sometimes do a quickie early morning sniff on the short loop if it’s not raining–I call it one and a half times. He calls it, “reading the morning news.” I love that we always go the same way, but that he stops and sniffs (and pees–he is a dog) in different places every time.

I also love that the neighborhood changes its look day to day and week to week. Compensation for living in suburban paradise, I imagine. This time of year spring brings startling color. Azaleas last week, and this week, the early roses. Even the light varies as rain storms come and go, and clouds form and part for sunny skies.

Here’s Rhys stopping to smell the roses (or quite possibly my hand). And here he is raising an eyebrow at my staging of the picture but gamely playing along.

So does your pet think you’re crazy too? Do you take walks? What do you love about your neighborhood?

Paris: A Springtime Cliche

Though the idea of spring in Paris has certainly captured the attention of writers and songsters to the point where we roll our eyes at the mention of April in the fabled city, there is something there.
I will never forget the first relatively warm day in Paris (I was fortunate to spend my junior year in college there) after wintering under grey skies and wearing black on black relieved only by my dirty white keds and a red plaid scarf for color. On that day, shortly after Easter, I put on a shirt with a lavender floral pattern, a short skirt, and some purple suede flats. I got on the Metro at Michel Ange-Auteuil, changed trains at Odeon, and got off at Chatelet. I emerged into the bright sunlight, uncaring that the temperature was still a touch cool for my short sleeves (I had a sweater, but I’d stashed it in my bag), and I walked. I walked to the river, crossed onto the Ile de la Cite via the Pont Neuf, meandered through the gardens behind Notre Dame de Paris all the way to the Pont St. Louis. I crossed over to the other little island, seeking Berthillon and its famous ice cream. Though, again, it was a touch to cold for glaces, I indulged anyway because I was so eager for the new season, the dazzling sun, and the fresh city. The ice cream was sweet and, well, creamy. The grass in the park was tender and bright. I sat down there, and the new blades prickled my pale, bare legs.

They warmed my heart, that walk and that ice cream. I was ready for a change from dreary winter. And I was not the only one…Bertillon was packed.
So what is it about spring? Paris? Springtime in Paris? Are they mere cliches, or is there something about the emergence of life after winter that calls to us on a basic level? Have you ever taken a walk that changed your outlook?

(photos of Paris from and