Aaaaah, autumn. It’s my favorite time of year. I can’t say that was always the case, but it’s definitely been true for the last dozen or so years. For so many reasons but, mostly, because of the energy of change.
I used to loathe change. As someone who needed to predict and control and was not at all adept at adjusting on the fly and course correcting, I viewed change as an unwelcome visitor in my life. Always.
When I became a mom, change was suddenly more unavoidable than ever. I remember one of the best pieces of advice I received was from a colleague who was about a year ahead of me in the parenting game. She said, “I made friends with change. Just when you think you can’t take another moment of a horrible phase, it changes. The next phase arrives.”
That’s not to say all change is good. Let’s not kid ourselves. Sometimes things happen that are just unimaginable and devastating and the kind of change that shows up is foreign and painful, even gut-wrenching. That’s a whole other conversation.
The change I love in autumn comes in a few different forms.
- Non-Academic Learning. I get to see how much my kids have grown over the summer. Back to school is a window into all the things they learned and all the ways they matured as humans over the summer. I have long said there’s a certain kind of development that takes place outside the classroom and we often don’t see it until they’re back in the classroom.
- More Predictable Schedules. As much as I like change, I also like structure. While the calendar has more on it, schedules during the school year are so much more manageable without all the last-minute plans that pop up and I have more uninterrupted time in my work day.
- Releasing What’s Done. The trees here in New England shed their old leaves. They get rid of what no longer serves them and create space for what’s to come. Their branches remain bare during the growth phase as they wait for spring and the bloom of new leaves and flowers.
It’s the last one I embrace most. For me, it’s power. Autumn is a time for change — whether it’s abandoning habits like too much take-out and ice cream during the dog days of summer and recommitting to a healthier lifestyle with nutrition and movement or adopting an earlier bedtime or getting a jump on a goal for the upcoming year.
It’s an easy time to become a bit stagnant as we watch nature prepare for its winter’s nap. It’s an easy time to fall deeper into unwanted habits in anticipation of the magic wand we expect to wave over us on January 1st. It’s an easy time to do nothing different.
But, experience has taught me there is no magic wand, no perfect date to start working on a desired change, and no future version of myself coming to take my hand and lead (or drag!) me to my goals.
If you have been thinking about making a change in any area of your life, can you start today?
Check in with your “tomorrow self” … ask what they want and do one thing today to move in that direction. Leap and the staircase will appear, as the saying goes.