The Laughing Toastmaster: September is the New January

It’s September and I don’t like it.

It’s a sneaky month, filled with promises of great things to come but all you get is traffic like an angry ant hill and Homebase’s first Christmas sale.

September creeps up on me like a bad cold. One day I’m in happy holiday heaven, next it’s London tube hell with a stranger’s elbow lodged in my back.

Meanwhile someone’s bad breath invades the carriage and the fact I’m extremely hungover does nothing for the situation. I go into British-Mode and pretend I’m not there.

Can it get any worse? Yes, it can!

‘Due to engineering works, there are severe delays on the Jubilee Line’

What kind of genius plans work at peak hours? As for the Jubilee Line? Just rename it Misery Line?

By the time I get to work all the hot desks are gone, except for one filled with coffee spills, remains of greasy chips and doom. Maybe I’ll just work in the toilet. It’s cleaner and the Wi-Fi works just fine.

Depressed, downcast and with a Visa bill fit for Ivanka Trump, I blame everything on September.

Because September is the new January, except we can’t be collectively miserable. In January we can complain and moan. It’s allowed! It’s healthy! It’s cathartic! Get it out of your system! Along with everything else thanks to that detox diet.

Not in September! Because it’s CATCH-UP TIME. All those things I promised to do in January but somehow never got around to doing them. I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions; those are long forgotten (on January the 2nd). I’m talking about things I stupidly committed to doing and signed … on paper.

Yes, it’s work! Those ‘objectives’ that at the beginning of the year looked so do-able? Even ‘Big Boss’ said they were do-able! Every monthly meeting, Big Boss would smile and nod as I blatantly lied through the ‘results so far’.

‘Good work Sonia, you’re on the right track’.

Even though he knew I was NOT on the right track! More like ‘off the beaten path’ straight to the Job Centre. He signed off my progress report anyway! That’s cruel and unjust.

Not surprisingly, when my Annual Review arrives (1st of September) Big Boss is not smiling as he studies what has actually been accomplished (uhh … not much).

‘Sonia, you have let yourself down, you have let the team down and you have let ME down. You have a serious lack of discipline’.

This from a man who once ate 5 Magnums in one sitting. A man who in every Team Outing gets so drunk we have to hail a cab for him while reassuring him that, ‘Yes we love you and YES you’re the best boss in the world’!

I should just tear that Annual Review and shout, ‘I quit! You Magnum-eating-progress-report-fibber’! Instead, I meekly say, ‘Give me just ONE more chance to prove myself! There are still four months left! I PROMISE I’ll be on target … by next week’.


At this point I imagine Chris Arning (District 91’s brilliant PR guy) thinking, ‘This is all fair and good Sonia, but what does it have to do with Toastmasters?’

Everything Chris!! Because despite my performance so far, I plan to SMASH those objectives! Thanks to Toastmasters I know I can achieve things that most people would think impossible. Things that I would have thought impossible pre-Toastmasters.

Every Toastmasters’ journey is filled with bravery and courage. Qualities that are nurtured, practiced and achieved with the support of our organization. This gives us the confidence to reach for the BIG STUFF.

That’s why when setting goals for this year, our district leaders have not held back!  By the end of June 2023:

  • 5,000 new members for District 91
  • Change our Toastmaster image from fuddy-duddy to TEDTalks watch out!
  • Become the best District in the Universe!!

A true reminder for every Toastmaster that when it comes to goals, we GO BIG! We GO BOLD! We GO BALLISTIC!

Because we don’t believe in going ‘timidly tiny’.


Sonia Aste is an engineer, writer and comedian who will never go ‘timidly tiny’.

She’s a Toastmaster and member at Riverside Communicators Club.
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