Fall has landed.
It’s the first night I’ve had to close my windows all but a crack. Soon I expect the radiator will be turned on and will spend the next several weeks climbing in temperatures as the climate closes in on winter.
It’s the first day I’ve been funny in the morning in a few weeks. I’ve got my mojo rising and my body’s starting to feel like I’m in control of it again. Pneumonia has been a shitty ride, but my prescription finishes today, and I’m turning some good corners.
Good thing, too. Gettin’ busy — after all, a week from today, I’ll hit the ripe old age of 37.
September has been a long, hard month. Every year I seem to face some kind of adversity as I head into the autumn. A couple times I’ve cheated death on Labour Day weekend. Once I blew out my back a couple days after my birthday. Yeah, it’s always been a rocky time for me, one that suggests much change is ahead for me.
This year’s no different when you get down to the basics: Change is necessary, positives abound, opportunity knocks, et cetera.
But I suppose that’s autumn for most of us.
I think we all go a little off-track in the summer. From the time of childhood on, summer suggests two months of free-for-alls — a time when hedonism makes sense to just about everyone, days when abdicating your responsibilities are too tantalizing to pass up. Nothing like wind in the hair and sand in the toes, as the saying goes.
Then fall rolls around, and like it did when we were kids, it means life is coming back to the working cycle.
Harvest time. For tens of thousands of years, autumn has been a time of preparation and planning, a time to get working in order to ensure survival over the coming cold months of hardship.
Biologically, I think we’re still hardwired there. Summer’s that time when survival’s easier. We don’t even need shelter — sleeping under the stars isn’t just nice, but essential to the human experience.
Winter? Heh, not so much — especially here in the so-called Great White North. (Ironic, of course, since Vancouver, Canada gets far less snow than NYC, or even Vancouver, Washington, but, hey, whatever stereotypes rock your boat, man.)
As the days get shorter, my mind turns to the months ahead, planning and scheming for all I feel I need to accomplish. Thrown into cold, rainy, dreary, windy Wet Coast days, I’ll find myself methodically productive and compulsively accomplished.
Unlike summertime Steff.
It was at this point, three years ago this very week, I reached my self-esteem rock-bottom, had just quit the job making me miserable, returned to a job that allowed me to put myself first, and started on my path toward losing 70 pounds and being able to say I Am Not That Girl Anymore.
The fall has always been a powerful catalyst in my life.
You might think that, coming off a month of back problems and pneumonia, I carry dread and fear about the months that loom… but you’d be woefully mistaken, friend.
I’m stoked. For every step backward I’ve taken this year, there’s been two steps forward. You can choose to focus on the backwards steps, but I’d rather believe it was just practice, and practice makes perfect.
“Big picture” is always more rewarding than a nano-focus. Don’t think about the steps backward this year; think of how much forward you were able to move.
I know the possibility that can come from this bubbling anticipation and dogged desire to capitalize on it. I’ve been there before, I’ve seen what it can do to me. Hell, I know what *I* can do with it.
All this “stuff” in my way right now… it’s just stuff. It’s a bug, a sickness, and it’ll go away. It happens. It’s not “bad luck” or misfortune. It’s just my turn. It’s a reminder of the things I said were important to me — my health, my future, my soul. It’s a reminder of how much I could have controlled more aspects of my life, and an inspiration to do better in the coming months.
Your adversity is what you decide it to be. Make your conclusions carefully.
It’s autumn. A time for things to die and begin their cycle of rebirth. A time to reap what you’ve sown and account for it. Mostly, it’s just a time.
Today, I lament the loss of warmth and long days, the frivolity and fun, the recklessness and hedonism. I mourn that my inner kid’s gonna have a harder time coming out to play for a while.
But I’m truly thrilled to lose the seasonal distractions, gain some focus, and launch future plans for taking over the world.
I’m looking forward to chillier nights, leaves falling, storms that remind me just how fragile our place in the world is, bundling up, excuses for sleeping in, and cradling mugs of hot beverages in frozen hands. I’m longing for the crisp, clean smell, the quieter streets, the oft-patter of rain and splashing of tires, and the fuzzy comfort of wearing warm slippers.
By the year’s end, I’ll have begun growing tired of it all and will dread the next four months, but that’s how the weather cookie crumbles here in the proverbial Great White North.
And, today, none of that matters. Today, summer’s gone, fall is here, and survivalism kicks in — just like it ought to after tens of thousands of years of biological programming.
Happy autumn, everyone. Enjoy everything about it.
And please, for the love of god, don’t put ornamental gourds on your table.