Autumn is my favorite time of year. The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting a little more brisk, the days are getting shorter and the smells, the smells of life are becoming more spiced. I don’t know why I have always loved this time of the year, but October has been my favorite month for as long as I can remember.
To some, autumn symbolizes the end. The leaves are changing into brilliant colors before dying and falling to the ground. Summer has ended and with it comes the knowledge it will soon be cold, there will be snow and ice and little time to enjoy the outdoors, unless you are one of the few who relish the cold.
To others, autumn is a new beginning. Yes, all the above is true, but this is the season when everything starts to slow down before the cold which leads to rebirth. New things are in the works, even if it is impossible to see this beginning just yet. Summer is done, but the wheels have started in the work to produce the next summer. Autumn is the beautiful time, both in sight and smell, before we start spending more and more time inside yearning for the first green buds to appear signaling the beginning of spring.
For me, autumn is a time to slow down, to breathe deep and to take in all around me. It is a time to regroup, to think about who I am, what I am doing and what I should do next. Autumn is a time for reflection, for introspection, for meditation and for decision making. I don’t have to make major decisions, but it is a time where I have always been able to take stock and see if my life is on the track I would like. It is the time for philosophy and storytelling and dreaming. Is there really any time of year better for these?
I love admiring the plethora of colors exploding all around. The multiple hues of orange and red and brown and yellow. It’s as if nature decided to burst with one last fury of beauty before settling down for a long nap. It brings hope...if nature can routinely produce such beauty, why aren’t we? Autumn brings out the best in many people. A time to slow down and produce great works of their art to share with the world. A time to begin something we would only be able to finish in the short dark days of winter...biding time until spring pushes away the cold and the days begin to lengthen, the light giving us more reasons to spend out of doors.
This quarter of the year allows me to realize that overall, I am a happy person, even if I don’t always admit it. Yes, my job doesn’t give me the fulfillment I would like. Yes, I don’t travel as much as I would like. Yes, I may not produce the art I wish I produced (or even think I can produce). But, I know I have control over all the above and I also know I can work to fix them. Being able to slow down and view the world through the lenses of autumn shows me there are other ways. They may take a lot of hard work, but they are there if I am only courageous enough to grasp them.
I am who I make myself. I can do anything I want to do and I am not stuck based on my previous choices. We always have choices...I am capable of choosing happiness and peace. I am also capable of choosing to be unhappy and stressed and frustrated with the life I have. I wasn’t dealt this life, I drew it to me. I am who I have become based on the choices I have made. To become something or someone other, I only have to make new choices.
Everything I want is never going to fall in to my lap. I have to work to become the person I want to become. There are going to be times I fall short of my goals, but this is only because I set them so high. Falling short is not the end of the world, it just means I need to figure out new ways to try to reach them. We all have the incredible capability of producing greatness, we just have to work hard to get there. If we fail at first, we learn from our missteps and start again. We don’t dwell, we don’t say “oh woe is me”, we don’t blame others and we don’t blame the world. We have to pick ourselves up, dust off, and start again with the knowledge we gained from the failure.
For me, autumn is the time when I can reflect on the failures and see what I have learned. If the reflection becomes demoralizing at any time, I can just step outside, take a deep breathe and look around. We are surrounded by what appears to be the end, but we all know it is not. The trees will drop their leaves, the plants in the garden will die, time will begin to slow down, but we all know what happens come spring. The leaves will come back, the plants will grow again, the flowers will bloom and everything begins to speed up. There is no end. Everything is just the beginning of something new. Something beautiful. Something worthwhile. It’s the calm before the storm and our opportunity to pick the direction we want our lives to travel. It’s a beautiful time to be alive.