October. Fall. It’s the start of the dying of the year, when it gets colder and darker and everything draws to an end. It is also, I have decided, a time to appreciate fresh starts – although I realise we’re currently heading into the latter part of the month. Plants are dying and turning to mulch so that new plants can grow in their place next year. Leaves fall from the trees so that those trees can survive the winter and then continue to grow, fresh and anew in the spring.
So whilst some people are starting to hunker down for the winter, their summer plans and fitness routines and optimism for the year starting to fade, I’ve decided to use the start of the season as a fresh start for myself.
Part of the problem I’ve had over the last few months was that all the days seemed to merge into one. This was mostly due to work being fairly quiet, and the fact that I was working from home for most of the first half of the year. It no longer felt like there was a clear divide between my weekdays and weekends, and because certain tasks dragged out for weeks I’d lose track of when things started and when they’d end.
Then despite that changing just over two months ago, with my starting work on a new project based in Edinburgh, I was so exhausted for the first few weeks (getting used to the new routine, having the flu, then a bad cold) that the days were really just something that I got through. I said the right words about things that I ‘wanted to do’, but in reality I just wanted to collapse every evening in my hotel room and eat something comforting. And thus those days rolled together too.
But I’m definitely feeling a sense of newness right now, and I can pinpoint the exact moment that began. Friday the second of October was very much still summer and yet the third was completely Autumn. Friday was warm and sunny and bright and I got three loads of laundry dry on the line.
Saturday was darker all day. The windows remained open but my feet were cold as they padded across the floors in the morning. Around 5:30pm the setting sun cast a golden light on the tops of the trees I can just about see when sat looking out of my window. I didn’t notice until then that the leaves were starting to turn yellow – in the summer sunlight of the Friday they still appeared fresh and new. Now I can see that they’re dying.
Autumn is always strange for me. There’s a few particular songs that the season makes me want to listen to, somehow they fit with the mood. But I have a very aural memory and because I’ve listened to these songs in autumns gone by they evoke strong memories of past events. And they’re melancholy-sounding songs and the memories involved often relate to visiting people in hospital who have now died – such as my aunty Dodo last October, or they’re of specific events several years ago back when I was struggling with depression and anxiety.
I notice the feel of Autumn and I therefore want to listen to these songs which end up leaving me feeling sad and haunted, and yet there’s still something beautiful about the combination of the music and the season and so I continue to do it, appreciating and yet mourning the ending of the year.
And it feels like there’s been a very decisive break in the year, and so I’m using that feeling to break out of some of my old habits and into new ones. This is being further helped by the fact that I’ve recently got a place on a 3 month health-and-wellbeing programme at work, so from now until December I’m working with a ‘coach’ of sorts to focus on a couple of health related goals.
Plus, with the renewed sense of beginning and fresh start comes the continuation of this blog. My mind hasn’t really been in the right place for it over the last few months – time just got away from me, despite having many draft post ideas in the wings. But as I’ve realised before and am trying to realise again, if you want to do something you can’t just rely on those times when you’re feeling motivated. Motivation is a fickle mistress and will vanish as quickly as it comes. Dedication and consistency are the two main things I’m trying to work on at the moment, and this is a good start.
Welcome back to Autumn everyone, and to a second year of this blog!