There is something about autumn that brings out the melancholy in me.
Perhaps it’s my Irish blood, but a little wistfulness is a welcome thing sometimes. As the leaves grow crisp (yes, even in Texas) and the air feels cooler (again, even in Texas), a sense of change is imminent. It’s palpable, almost.
It’s also a time of year when I find myself extremely distractible. I want to read…then I want to add to my Christmas list…then I want to go clean something. I have always felt this in spring and fall; both energized and enervated, lively and lazy. I realize now that some of this is a symptom of recently-diagnosed ADHD, but I have seen it in our pets as well.
Perhaps I am more in tune with our pets than most people, but this is the time of year when we are more likely to see zoomies. Then they drift into longer, deeper naps. Then lots more zooms, off to catch shadows. Some of it is the wild shifts in weather, such as approaching storms or wild barometric changes. And some is simply the season change.
Now we feel the changes in our lives, too.
Friends send us cards for the holidays, and we notice how their children have grown. We note changes in address, surnames, or jobs. As we stagger under the exhaustion from nearly 2 years of “2020” madness, illness, fear, and new-normals, we begin to feel hope as we tentatively plan holiday gatherings. We Christmas shop if able, and we look around at those less fortunate and offer what we might.
We notice last year’s sweater is a bit tight or loose. We reach deep into closets to find the comfortable slippers. If you are like me, sometimes you realize you tossed them out in a fit of spring cleaning. The cozy blankets come back out, and the cat curls up, triumphant.
I am pretty fortunate. I love autumn, I enjoy the brisk cold when it does come, and I have happy memories of holidays past. Not everyone is so lucky.
SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a real thing. For some, the lack of Vitamin D from sunlight during the winter months can really do a number on their emotions. For others, there is real pain in remembering the holidays and all that they represent. There are huge benefits in seeking medical, therapeutic, or other forms of help to get you through this season.
Seasonal change can also be a hugely positive force. There’s no rule that one needs to wait for January to begin something new, and sometimes the changes outside can inspire big changes inside.
Sure, there’s the traditional spring cleaning, but there are also a number of things you can do in the fall to help make the winter nights a lot nicer. There are things you can do to winterize, as well. Obviously the southern hemisphere would be flipping these two around about now.
Cleaning out can be more than a literal act, however. One can also make lists about what things they want to begin, what things they want to stop doing. For me, I journal more in these months than at any other time of year. The trees outside remind me that change is inevitable: children grow, pets mature, the world is new each morning and different each circle of the globe.