A Change of Season

fullsizeoutput_4c9dAutumn has never been my favorite season, but for some reason, this year is different.  This year I’m actually enjoying Autumn.  Maybe it’s because we finally got a Fall with a lot of beautiful color on the trees, or maybe it’s because we enjoyed a spell of perfect Autumn weather with warm days and cool nights.  It might be that Halloween is fun again, now that I have a grandson among the trick-or-treaters.  (He may not be able to walk on his own yet, but he still looked adorable in his penguin costume.)  It could even be that my mother and sister are hosting the Thanksgiving dinner this year, which spares me the cleaning and shopping frenzy that usually defines my early November.

IMG_4023All I know is that I feel a new appreciation for Autumn, even now that the weather has turned cold and rainy.  I loved baking my first pumpkin pie of the season and have decorated my front porch with pumpkins.  I didn’t even mind packing away the last of my summer clothes and switching them out for the warmer clothes I’ll be needing in the upcoming months.

Perhaps I’m finally learning to live in the moment, and appreciate what I have right now rather than impatiently waiting for something better.  I suppose one sign of maturity is realizing that life is never going to be entirely (or even mostly) perfect, and that if I want to be happy, I need to learn to be happy with the messy imperfections that always make up the here and now.  I need to look around me at what I do have and be grateful for it.  And when I see a problem that needs to be fixed, I have to be willing to work hard to change what I can and also accept that sometimes my best efforts won’t be good enough.

Maybe I’m beginning to appreciate Autumn because I am, at age sixty, in the Autumn of my own life.  And while I have lost much of the strength and vigor of my youth, I am also beginning to understand the gifts that this season of my life brings.  It’s nice to reach the stage where I’m truly beginning to accept (and even like) who I am, especially because that makes it so much easier to accept other people exactly as they are.  Sometimes I do miss having young children at home, but I also enjoy the peacefulness  that an “empty nest” brings.  And it’s rewarding to get to know my son and daughter as independent adults who are happily making their own way in life.

When I was young, I never cared much for Fall.  I missed the warmth and freedom of summer, and was impatient for the Christmas season to begin.  But now I see that there’s a real beauty in this time and I’m more than happy to savor the many gifts of this season.  Winter will be here soon enough, but that’s okay….for now, I’m just happy to enjoy Autumn.

71 thoughts on “A Change of Season

  1. A very nice post. Unlike you, I’ve always loved fall, but mostly because I detest the hot and humid weather that I must endure every summer. The joke is, “Spring? Wasn’t it on a Thursday last year?” But no, I’ve always loved cooler weather, cardigans, hot toddies, hazelnuts and figs… I also used to be really popular on Halloween, mostly cause of the parties. We had to work so hard and at the time we grumbled about the costumes, food, school parties, and so forth. Yes, I do miss a lot of it, but now I also have 2 grand kids. They don’t live here but just knowing they’re trick or treating makes me smile. And I’ve done my part. So I can also enjoy the autumn of my life.

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    • There really is a lot to be said for Fall, particularly if you live in a hot climate. I think I just didn’t appreciate it, because I was so aware that Winter was coming, plus I liked the ease and lack of schedule we had in our summers. But now I do appreciate Fall…and like you said, it’s time to enjoy the autumn of our lives. And grand kids sure help, don’t they? Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Yes yes yes – I couldn’t have said it better. I was just telling my Dad how much I love Autumn and remember how I used to HATE it. I used to dread it. I find such joy in it now for so many of the same reasons as you!!! And guess what??!! My oldest granddaughter was a penguin for Halloween too!!!!! 🙂 ❤

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    • Thanks, Jodi! I think I dreaded it so much because of the shorter days, and knowing that Winter was coming (which, after Christmas, I didn’t particularly like). But now I love it! And yes, I saw your granddaughter’s photo on Facebook! How fun that our grandkids had the same costume!

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  3. I can relate to much of your post. It is true that age brings a better understanding and willingness to experience the “now” and let the future and past take care of themselves. Well written introspective post!

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  4. A very touching exploration of your inner being in relation to Autumn and the equivalent stage in your own life. At age 76 I still consider myself in the autumn season and can relate to what you have been saying. I find the inner peace that has entered my heart makes me open up to ideas like yours that were once closed to me. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings with us today, Ann!

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    • Thank you Peter! This time of our lives really does make us examine ourselves and find the inner peace that lives in each on of us, once we are ready for it. The “Autumn of our lives” is actually a rather good time!

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  5. I understand the not enjoying Fall thing, except for the colors which I love and miss living in Asia. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up and loved playing with my two older brothers outdoors. Fall always signaled back inside and back to school, and I must say I wasn’t thrilled with summer vacation being over. But I’m appreciating more all seasons, like you, as I’m also in the Autumn time of life (turning 58 in two weeks). Like you, I’m moving toward a better place in accepting who I am, not striving so hard to be someone I think I should be, therefore, accepting others for who they are. Having adjusted to the heat of the tropics here, the coolness almost feels cold so I have a sense of North American Autumn. It’s nice. I enjoy your posts so much!

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    • Thanks for your kind words, Brenda! And yes, that’s exactly why I didn’t like Fall as a kid: back to school and the end of summer freedom. Now that we are older, and certainly more accepting of ourselves, we are free to enjoy what this season does have to offer. I’ve never been to Asia, but I hope that the warmth and beauty there makes up for missing the Autumn you were used to.

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  6. I share your new-found appreciating for autumn For me it’s the beautiful yellow and red leaves that are especially spectacular this year. I even heard myself ask my best friend to go for a long stroll in a huge park. And I’m not usually known for this kind of question. At this time of the year, I normally tend to just wrap myself up in warm cloths and prefer to stay inside.

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  7. I think there’s nothing to beat a nice, crisp autumn day. I’ve always felt that, but pleasure in autumn was always slightly tempered by the start of a new academic year – back to school, back to university and, when I was working in an academic library, back to students disturbing our peace! That latter was very short lived though. I always missed the students terribly at the beginning of the summer vacation, then enjoyed getting down to all the tasks we were too busy to do in term time. It took a few days to adjust when they came back, then I wondered how I had survived without the buzz! So, generally, autumn is a happy time for me.

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    • I’m glad you were always able to enjoy Autumn! Although I always did like the cooler temps (they seem to give me more energy), I mostly just endured Fall, waiting for Christmas to come. But now I see how much the season has to offer…and can’t miss the analogy to my own life either. Thanks for the comment!

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  8. I really needed to read this to strengthen my resolve to change. I’ve always spoiled November and December for myself because my workaholic streak keeps me chained to work related lists, pre-Christmas lists and more lists. I can barely allow myself to enjoy the rainy days of the year’s end which I actually love. But I want to make a change this year. I can’t just turn off but I can slow down and pause and do some letting go as well. The cupboards and the floors and carpets to be cleaned will always be there, just the same, but not the clouds and skies and winds of today. Not the same roses, not the same songs little birds sing in the trees.

    I’m not yet 60, Ann, but I’m borrowing your wisdom to accept and enjoy – early.

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    • Oh, thank you for letting me know this post spoke to you! I do understand…November was always my month to frantically clean the house before winter and the Thanksgiving dinner guests. I never allowed myself to slow down and truly enjoy the season. I think some wisdom really does come with age. And I so hope you are able to just enjoy and accept the season. Take care, my friend!

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  9. I think being that being more accepting of other people, and especially of yourself, are byproducts of learning to live in the present. It’s a benefit of getting older that hopefully most people are able take advantage of. I’m in the process of learning that lesson myself, and it’s really touching to read the same sentiments so well expressed. We are works in progress! Thank-you Ann.

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    • Oh, exactly, Des! We are work in progress, and as we age we accept ourselves, and others, so much more than we ever did in our judgemental youths. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels that way. One of the biggest gifts of blogging is connecting with other people and realizing that the stuff we’re dealing with is basically universal. Thanks for being one of those honest people who helps me realize that!

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      • I often find it very rewarding here, knowing that others are feeling the same thing I am. You’re right, there are universal issues we all deal with. Thank-you too, Ann, for the nice reply, and being such a genuine presence here in my blogging life!

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    • Thank you! We recently spent a week in Florida, and it was the same there: the only sign of Autumn was the slightly cooler temperatures. Here in St. Louis, we also see the colors on the trees, but not nearly as much as they get in the Northeastern states. I guess each area has it’s own strengths!

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    • You are exactly right! I often think, “I wish I had figured this out when I was younger.” But when I was younger, I didn’t have the experience and perspective to understand so many things. That’s the gift that only comes from aging….

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  10. Even though it tries hard to impress us with its bright red, orange, and yellow colors, Autumn doesn’t seem to get the same respect as the other seasons. We all love spring for its showers and flowers and summer for its fun outdoor opportunities. Winter is also revered, but mostly as a time to struggle against the cold. Even so, there is nothing like the feeling of a perfect Autumn day, is there?

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    • You’re right, Joe…both that we don’t always appreciate Fall (I know I didn’t, until recently) and that few things are better than a perfect Autumn day! Luckily, we got quite a few of them this year where I live.

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  11. Back in my midwest years, fall was my favorite time of year. The summer humidity and bugs turned into crisp, fresh days, and for a few weeks the trees put on a show. Here in the northwest I like ’em all. Spring for its bounty of flowers in everyone’s yards and parks, summer for the nice weather and vacation from the rain, and fall for its colors. Winter has fallen out of favor somewhat, but that may be because I’ve become too lazy to drive up the mountain to go skiing.

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    • Honestly, I wouldn’t want to live somewhere where there aren’t four seasons. Although I’ll admit that it would be just fine with me if Winter only lasted for one month. After that, I’m tired of it and ready for Spring!

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  12. I have read many of your posts, but I think this might be my favorite! It is so true that life teaches us to appreciate many gifts as we age…gifts we could not have appreciated earlier. I will have to come back and read this again! Such sage advice and spoken so beautifully from the heart. Thank you for sharing this Autumnal message with such clarity and vision.

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Not at all sure I deserve them, but it is sweet of you to let me know that this post spoke to you. That’s always the hope of any writer…that our words will connect with someone who reads them. Thanks again!

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  13. I have mixed feelings about autumn. It’s truly beautiful. For about 5 minutes. And then you rake leaves. And leaves. And leaves. Leaving very little time for sipping coffee while reading a book and eating all those pumpkin spice flavored things you bought.

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  14. What s beautiful post that spoke to me on many levels. We’re now in our Spring here in Australia, heading towards summer but, like you, I’m learning to live in the moment rather than wishing for more.

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  15. Very much enjoyed your post! In northwestern Minnesota, I experience autumn as the briefest pause before the deep plunge into winter. I love the surprise of spring, the warmth of summer and the solitariness of winter…but I have difficulty with autumn. The days shorten quickly in September; the temperatures drop noticeably thereafter, and by Halloween, it’s winter again. I snowshoed yesterday for the first time this winter — November 11th. Autumn, no more.

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    • I don’t blame you for not liking Autumn when it’s that brief! I live in St. Louis, where we usually don’t get really cold weather until December, but this year we’ve already had two snows and temps in the low twenties. Thanks for reading and for your nice comment!

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  16. In a way, this is a reminder for me to be more aware of my growth and enjoy the moments life gives me. I’ve been seeing snow on the mountains around and been feeling the chill of winter coming. I’m not sure what to expect this year. Most of the leaves are on the ground but they’re still beautiful. It’s still autumn. I must try to enjoy and appreciate it now while it’s still here.

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    • Yes, that’s a lesson I needed to learn too. The only thing I really like about Winter is Christmas (and fresh snowfalls that melt before we have to shovel them), and often I spent Fall just wishing Christmas would hurry up and arrive. Now I’m learning to appreciate it for what it is. Learning to live in the present is so important, I think. Thanks for your comment!

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  17. It is a lovely autumn this year in northern California, although the unseasonable fires have added some anxiety to what is normally a quiet season.

    I’ve always loved fall. The summer heat is finally gone, so I can spend time outside other than just before ten in the morning. Fire danger is usually over (that consideration might be mostly a California thing, with our yearly expected June-September droughts). Like you, our kids are grown and gone, so we can go camping in places that are usually hammered during the summer. (Visit Yosemite in any season other than summer if you can. I’m telling you this as a friend.) Our area is mild with very little winter snow, but we have enough chill to make the oaks and maples turn beautiful colors.

    And I’m trying to be okay with being in the autumn of my life. Probably my biggest regret is the trees I haven’t planted yet. I’m planning on doing something about that this year. 🙂

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    • I’m so glad the fires aren’t in your area, and so sorry for the people who are in harm’s way. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for those who have experienced that devastation and loss. Aside from the risk of fires, I do think you live in a wonderful area, though, where you can enjoy the cooler temperatures and the colors of Fall without knowing that Winter is right behind.
      And perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but I love your reference to the trees you haven’t planted yet. I think all of us have some of those in our lives. Thanks for the comment!

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