La Rentrée


Sure, you can “start over” or begin doing new things every day of your life, but everybody knows that there are specific days on which “rebooting” is easier: Mondays, or the first day of the month, or January 1st. The French have their very own version of this type of day: on September 1st, it’s La Rentrée (“The Return”). It is the first day of school, and it marks the official end of the summer holidays. The summer holidays in France last two months (July and August), and especially in August, the whole country comes to a halt.

Today it’s September 1st, 2020. This year is almost over, and while I don’t believe in “Your life changes from one moment to the next, just because of the date on the calendar changing”, I do believe that having a particular date on which you plan to start your life back up, can be a way of holding yourself accountable.

I have noticed that the Covid19 pandemic, the political state of the world, and the recent heatwave that is of course the result of severe climate issues that the powers that be refuse to address adequately have left me deflated. The last few months have not been the most inspiring ones, that’s for sure. Now that it has cooled off significantly, and I no longer live in constant fear of having to be admitted to the hospital due to overheating (I am on medication that causes issues with my body temperature regulation), it’s time to get back to work on my still semi-extensive to do list.

Wanting to start off with a bang, I deactivated my Facebook account. While I have never actively used it, deactivating was… a thing. Having resisted getting a Facebook account for more than 10 years, I finally made one for an internship I was doing, and to use later during the master degree I was accepted into. I had to quit the internship due to having a stroke, and the master’s degree then also didn’t happen because it took me quite a while post-stroke to find the courage again to finish up my thesis and earn my bachelor’s degree.

Deleting my Facebook account forever stirred up a lot of feelings. I remembered how I felt when I got that dream internship and decided that being able to do the internship was more important than my principle of definitely not wanting a Facebook account. I remembered how promising my future was at that moment, and how having a stroke completely destroyed that future. It’s sad to think about, and in hindsight, that’s why it took me so long to finally deactivate my account: I just didn’t want to deal with those feelings being brought to the surface so intensely. However, now that the account is deactivated, I mostly feel relief. I never wanted a Facebook account, and now I don’t have one anymore. Things make sense again.

In the next few months I will not only eagerly await the Covid19 vaccine and continue to finish up my long lingering projects, I will also continue decluttering things that, like my Facebook account, have served its purpose. Things like 5 years’ worth of emails, every document I’ve ever had to download for my studies, 15 years’ worth of pictures: the stuff that is invisible, but takes up loads of gigabytes on both my laptop and a variety of external hard drives. Speaking of pictures: I have found a couple of photo series of museum visits that I haven’t posted yet, that I will post soon. And yes, the articles I’ve promised to post “soon” three times by now, are also coming up.