Fall is a hard time for me. Some falls are worse than others. This is one of those falls. It usually starts in August and stretches until after Thanksgiving (when I will finally allow myself to listen to Christmas music, which begins to make me feel better). I'm irritable, I'm moody, I'm impulsive, I'm weepy. I've walked out on a really good, long-term job, ended a marriage, and made other huge, life-changing, impulsive decisions in the fall.
Fall used to be my favorite season. I looked forward to it with anticipation. I used to hate summer! Now I don't want summer to end. Please, give me the hot weather, the pool, the sunshine, the ocean, the fire pit, the s'mores, the fresh peaches. I don't mind sweating anymore (that's what the water is for, am I right?!!).
So, here's the thing I was just thinking as I watched the "First Day of Fall 2015" Google doodle: I need to make a list of all the things I love about fall and try to focus on enjoying those. Maybe that will help me over this emotional hump, nay, mountain, that is my Autumnal Mood Disorder (yeah, I just made that up. It's not in the DSM??). So here goes:
Squash and gourds - I love the colors, especially the variegated ones in all the odd shapes, and the ones that you shake and can hear the dry seeds rattling around inside.
Changing leaves - Although it's really hard to see all the green go (green is great for serotonin levels, you know), the vibrant reds and oranges are really beautiful, especially in the sunshine. I can remember my dad taking us on drives in the fall just to enjoy the beauty of the change (note to self: take kids on long drive . . . um, maybe).
Sweatshirts and sweaters - Cozy and comfy; what more do I need to say?
Chilly air - Believe it or not, summer lover that I've become, I do love the crisp fall air. One, because I can wear all those cozy sweatshirts and sweaters. Also because I love sleeping with the windows open and the blankets piled high. I do not sleep well in the summer unless the air conditioning is blasting, which I have tree-hugging girl guilt about. So, sleep without guilt is a bonus.
Long walks - These have become more short walks in recent years with my illness, but I still love them, especially with my boys. The leaves and the air and the ground beneath my feet: it's free therapy brought to me by Mother Nature.
Food - Now is the time of year when all the best of the locally grown come together. We can still get fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer squash. Apple picking season has begun, and my favorite winter squashes are now ripe on the vine. It's time for big pots of chili and soup, cool enough for roasting root vegetables and squash, but still warm enough to grill.
Okay. I've now added to my arsenal of defense against the dark fall tools. I hope those of you who struggle with the change in seasons are finding ways to cope. All you pumpkin spice everything lovers out there, please remember that it's a hard time of year for many people. Your understanding and patience is mucho appreciated. Fall lovers and fall dreaders alike, feel free to share your favorite things about fall in the comments below (as long as it's not a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte - I'll edit that crap out!).
Take care, stay positive, be well! xoxo