As I have written here several times, I turned 50 in May and I have been reflecting and writing about the lessons that I have learned in the past 50 years.
As I have shared with Care2 readers, they often come from surprising places, including my years in public school.
I also learn a lot when I walk. This morning, while I was walking in the cooler autumn air, I thought about how much I love fall. I think I love it even more than spring. There is a crispness in the air, the sky is always full of interesting colors just like the trees are, and it makes me feel alive and wanting to get outside.
Reflecting on this, I realized that fall has taught me some very valuable lessons. Here are just a few of them:
- Everything changes. At first, the changing of the leaves brings vibrant colors, but as they fall, the trees become barren and appear to be dead all through the winter. But as we know, that’s not true. Come spring, the trees will be flush with new growth, even lusher and greener than before. And this is only possible if the old growth dies off. Unlike the trees, change in our own lives is not always so obvious to us. But whether we realize it or not, things are constantly changing; we are aging and those we love are aging, and that is the way that it is supposed to be. Instead of fighting these changes, we should embrace them, so they will allow us to grow and become as fully developed as possible.
- The time that we have here is short. As the daylight hours grow shorter, and it gets dark earlier and earlier, it reminds me of that fact. While the long days of summer make me feel that I have all the time in the world to get things done, as that changes in the fall, I find myself almost panicked at the thought that I can’t get everything done that I want to.
- Related to this is that nobody can (or should) try to do everything. Instead, we should take the time to focus on doing those things that are the most important to us, and spending time with those who are important to us. There really is a time for slowing down; in the natural world, things fruit and flower, and they stop producing and rest.
- You don’t always have to take life so seriously—have some fun! Halloween is one of my favorite days, and the fact that there’s a day devoted to playing dress up reminds me that it’s okay to play, even at this age.