Autumn 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.
All 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.