One day in September, you wake up and everything is different. Sure, on the surface it looks the same. But the light is a little different. The wind feels a bit cooler. Suddenly, even though it’s still warm out, arguably even hot, it doesn’t seem right to wear that short summer dress anymore.
F Scott Fitzegerald
It’s invigorating to have a new season. It’s a time of change. Suddenly we’re inspired to be better, even if being better means getting cozy on the couch with a good book.
The point I think we all miss during the changing of the seasons is how easy change can actually be.
Whether we’re fretting over a job, a lover, a child, or anything at all, it seems to be part of the human condition to simultaneously hold onto whatever control we think we have over the situation while also worrying that the situation will never change.
I am very guilty of this myself. When someone chooses to remove themselves from my life, it’s heartbreaking. I cry. I bargain. I go over all of the details in my head, trying to figure out where it went wrong. I do everything but accept the situation.
I know this is a normal part of the grieving process, regardless of whether we’re grieving a person or something as trivial as the last piece of pie. But the truth is we alone control how long we stay stuck. We can choose to hold onto the past, to try to change it, or we can appreciate it for what it was and look for the next opportunity.
A close friend of mine is constantly looking for the next opportunity, not because he is eager for more experiences, but because he is afraid he’ll miss out on his one big chance.
I think the biggest secret in life is knowing that it’s never too late, that we’re exactly where we need to be. There will always be another opportunity.
But you’ll never notice the next opportunity if you’re too busy grieving what’s lost – or simultaneously if you’re constantly looking for something better.
The reason fall is such a welcome change for everyone, indeed all of the new seasons are a welcome change, is because for a moment we’re present. Taking in the changing leaves, being aware of the wind on your face, taking the time and care to pick out a new and different wardrobe, and even relaxing into a cozy couch and getting immersed in a great book are all luxuries that we normally overlook when we’re lost in the busyness of everyday life.
Of course we’ll all miss the summer nights, the pool parties, the weekend trips to the carnival – but we don’t grieve these things because we know it’s just a short time before summer is back again.
The biggest lesson nature teaches us is that everything is cyclical. We fail to apply that to our own lives, even though the evidence is there. We try to ignore our feelings of sadness and despair without realizing that once we give in and feel them, we can move on to love and happiness and joy.
It seems hardest to move on from a person, even when we know we should. I have seen firsthand how difficult abusive relationships are to leave, and I hear the despair in voices from people who are now currently in abusive situations. Regardless of what you’re trying to let go of, if you’re not ready to let go, don’t.
Sure, change can be easy. Exciting, even. But if you’re not there, don’t force it. Day by day, step by step, your situation will change until it becomes completely unbearable. You too will be looking forward to the excitement of letting go.
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