The first official day of Fall is this Thursday, September 22nd.
It is easy to see the “bad” in the inevitable approach of this new season. It means the end of warm sunshine on bare skin, of vibrant green trees, and the dwindling delights of summer’s bounty. It means the forthcoming necessity of jackets, boots, and hats. It means crisp weather leading to cold weather, at least for those in my part of the world.
But as with anything, it’s all perspective.
In the words of Heraclitus, “the only constant in life is change.” As we experience this natural, outward transition, it’s only natural to kickstart an inner transition in tandem. Every season symbolizes a cycle that can be mirrored within our own lives, and I am a firm believer in changing with the tides of time.
Autumn is especially symbolic of impermanence, balance, gratitude, and winding down towards stillness.
In honor of approaching the impending change to Fall with a sense of harmony,
here are 10 ideas to get started on a personal transition:
1. Set a Seasonal Tone
Make it a happy one. The word “cozy” has been floating around my thoughts for weeks now, as I have subconsciously adopted it as my personal tone for Fall. The word represents how I want to look and feel, inspiring decisions and pursuits of happiness. Enter: all of the turtlenecks, warm beverages, and Nora Ephron movies.
Instead of focusing on what you will miss about summer, or what you dread about winter,
what positive tone can you establish this Fall?
2. Let Go
As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, they serve as a reminder to let go. Soon winter will be upon us, offering time for quiet introspection and stillness. Leading up to that time, it’s important to recognize what burdens you are carrying, and work on letting them go. In doing so, those issues won’t continue to weigh heavily on us by the time we find ourselves knee-deep in the hibernating rest of winter.
What are you carrying around that you can release into this season,
leaving yourself unburdened in time for the holidays and quiet of winter?
3. Shake up Your Appearance
I decided to chop off a bunch of hair, give away a bundle of clothes, and add a few new pieces and accessories to my wardrobe. By executing some subtle shifts in how I present myself to reflect how my tastes have changed, I’ve given myself a feeling of freshness for Fall. Two particularly exciting areas for me to revitalize have been my sock and earring collections. After a long summer of bare feet in the grass, slipping in to some warm and cozy new footwear has become a welcoming change. Similarly, chopping my hair shorter has brought attention to my ears, which deserved some new adornment.
What areas of your appearance can you find joy in,
by shaking them up a bit?
4. Set Fresh Goals, Give Them a Timeline
We are approaching the final 100 days of 2016 (I can’t believe it either). Instead of slowing down and waiting for New Year’s to roll around so I can tackle a fresh set of resolutions, I’m getting a head start with an exciting endeavor for those last 100 days (stay tuned to hear more!). Fall brings that back to school feeling that we never really grow out of, and offers the perfect opportunity for a fresh slate of accomplishments.
What goals can you set your sights on to achieve
by the end of this season, or year?
5. Reflect on Your Personal Bounty
Summer is a time for abundance in every sense of the word. Whether you grow your own garden, or have visited a farmer’s market, the consumable beauty of summer’s bounty is unavoidable. Most likely, you’ve also acquired your own bounty of personal memories throughout the summer season. Now is the perfect time to reflect on what happened throughout those days. They may offer up lessons to learn and grow from, to improve upon, or to be proud of.
What experiences did you collect throughout your summer?
How did they impact your life, for better or for worse?
6. Visit New-to-You Places
I have been trying to spend at least one day a week exploring a new place in or around Pittsburgh. Whether it’s a new coffee shop where I can hunker down and work, a museum I haven’t paid a visit to in far too long, or a PawPaw Festival in Ohio – they all serve to refresh my perspective and reinforce the theme of change.
Where can you go in your own locale that will offer a fresh perspective,
or facilitate a fully autumnal experience?
7. Adjust Sleeping Habits
The days are shortening. It’s getting darker earlier in the evening, and mornings are getting grimmer. Naturally, this seasonal change disrupts sleeping patterns and lends itself to grumpiness. Instead of letting the darkness overwhelm and discourage me, I make sure to get outside during the day as much as possible and go to bed a bit earlier to make sure I adjust positively to this transition.
How can you honor your body’s resting needs during this season,
as well as embrace the darkening changes each day?
8. Enjoy All of the Fall Flavors
Pumpkin gets a lot of the attention, and I’m certainly a big fan, but there are so many other autumnal flavors that deserve love. (Side-note on canned pumpkin: it’s not what you think.) From warming flavors like cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger, to herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary, or fruits like apples, cranberries, figs, and pears, there are endless options to integrate into your cooking. I have a Fall recipe bucket list that I’ll be working through this season, and sharing the results of here.
Which Fall flavors have you forgotten about that
deserve some action in your kitchen?
Ready for Fall yet?
Whether you are anxiously awaiting cooler temperatures or mourning the end of summer, unavoidable change is on the horizon. Autumn serves as a perfect reminder that nothing lasts forever and change is a constant. We all have the opportunity to embrace these truths as positively or negatively as we want, and I hope this transition ushers in good things for all of you.
Lastly, in honor of my favorite season, a poem from one of my favorites:
The morns are meeker than they were—
The nuts are getting brown—
The berry’s cheek is plumper—
The Rose is out of town.
The Maple wears a gayer scarf—
The field a scarlet gown—
Lest I should be old fashioned
I’ll put a trinket on.