The New Now is in starkest light on September 1st. It was for us the first day of school. And my first day to lift weights after the long, languid summer (spent with head inverted in sand). Today is 10 degrees cooler than August 31st. It is the first day of the year in many quarters.

New. Yes, but it feels old for so many of us, old and hard. Perhaps still jobless, our economy (micro and macro) is still riddled with question marks. We at home are still wondering what zipcode we'll live in September 1st next year. We fight back resentment and sadness, we fight back our own fear of there being a bottom deeper than the one we've already hit. The New Now is one in which answers do not come quickly or neatly packaged. They come in loose ribbons, the answers are the ends which, once we find them, can be made into a bow.

New Now. Coming back from a long, languid summer (spent with head inverted in the sand) presents this one opportunity. A chance to breathe. Today, it's time to breathe, and figure out who we are. Who we want to be.

Julie and Julia. Julie Powell, post-911 tele-servicer, is saved by a bunch of loose ends she's given to tie in whatever bow she's creative enough to make. Out of this she defines who she wants to be. It doesn't take astounding acting, a breathtaking romance or a Queens apartment to inspire you to save yourself by such a simple act.
"Shouldn't I find SOMETHING to dewwww...?" That's Meryl Streep playing Julia Child in a way that, as JoJo said, makes you certain that she is in fact the venerable chef. Watch the clip.

Need new packaging? Need to tie your own bow? No desire to cook 50,000 French recipes?

Let's brainstorm:

Sell stuff on eBay. Start with a dress. Move to a rocking chair. It's a thrill!

Follow The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater. A year-long project is inspiring, and Nigel Slater, British chef who "believes that making something good to eat for your self or for others can lift the spirits in the way little else can." A gorgeous journal of a book which steers you to local and seasonal ingredients and tells you what to do with them.

Form a Resume group. Just a few trusted, like-minded people to gather around developing a creative resume. There is no right answer, but doing resumes together helps to bring out strengths and lose the dead weight.

Write. Take an online course and write. www.writingclasses.com

Comment on blogs. There is such great, fun stuff to read and think about in the blogosphere. Bloggers want to hear from readers, and the more you comment, the more there is out there from you. If you have thoughts and experfiences to share, consider tagging onto what's being said. (Start here!)

Create a cookbook, or better, a lifestyle guide. Called a "Cookbook, Remixed", Tastebook is your source, www.tastebook.com Include your experience and ideas, send it to the rest of us for a holiday present!

There are only a few moments a year when we are given a new air to breathe. This is one of them. No pressure and no worry. Not talking about changing your life, career, love or hair. It is a distraction, an opportunity, in a time otherwise fraught and daunting.

I entreat you to add to these ideas, here below, about how to tie a bow out of loose ends.

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