The september issues

When is the New Year? I guess it depends on who you ask. The Chinese would say it's related to the lunar cycle and often takes place in February. Most westerners would say that it's obviously the 1st January but I have always thought that September represents what a new year is all about. Even the trees know it, they shed their leaves and prepare for what is to come. 


Children start school with a clean uniform, usually a size too big and a fresh bag full of empty workbooks just waiting to be filled with ideas learned. Parents look forward to September too, returning to a routine and often a renewed focus on work or friendships, having taken a break over the summer.

Even for those who don't have children and their own school days are a distant memory, for most, there is still something about this time of year that makes you look ahead with a sense of what's to come.

This is true of every other year but not 2020. There's no certainty for many people, nobody can predict with certainty that life will remain as it is for long, and for many life as it is, is far from the normal we've always known. Will our jobs exist in the months to come, if they do where will they be based? Will our children get a chance to grow into their uniforms before schools shut again? There is so much uncertainty and it's unsettling. 

This sense of uncertainty is even more noticeable during September when we are so used to looking ahead. But it's hard to look ahead when we are in what psychologist Brené Brown calls the middle of the tunnel. We entered 'the tunnel' in March and to start with, it all seemed ok and manageable. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought three weeks, even three months wasn't too bad. As we now enter our seventh month into this pandemic on our shores, with so much loss along the way, it's hard to be optimistic. 

But today, I found a glimmer of it. In my garden, I planted some bulbs. Not just some, I planted lots. As it's occurred to me, that when they rise up and fill my garden with colour, life really might be different and this time will soon become a distant memory. The bright flowers will represent a brighter new start. 

This article has no big ending about how counselling can help and I'm fighting my urge to use metaphors about rising up and being glorious in the New Year. The real New Year. Because that may not happen. 

I just want to acknowledge, that life right now might seem a little darker as we journey through the middle of 'the tunnel'. We are unaware of what is to come but with a belief that the lighter days are ahead. If you do need a guiding hand to help see you through this stretch, counselling might offer the assistance you need. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Darren Sharpe, MBACP (Accred) Dip

Darren is a person-centred counsellor working from the humanistic tradition. Darren works out of his counselling room in Ashford, Kent but also works with clients remotely over the phone or zoom. Further information can be found at

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