Whew, it feels like summer just began and already my girls are back in school. You can’t tell because of the UNBELIEVABLE heat and humidity we’re finally experiencing (which, let’s just be honest, is about dang time), but autumn is quickly arriving and with it a new season. And I don’t just mean climate-wise.
Summer was incredible. Maybe just a bit too short, but wonderful none-the-less. Even with my 50-60 hour workweek, I have been able to do all sorts of things. The Boy came and “lived” up here for three weeks, I visited him for two separate weeks. There was the annual street swing dance in Lexington, and multiple USABDA dances on warm Saturday nights. I visited a zoo and an aquarium, went to considerably less movies than my usual summer haul, and ate more sushi than I care to count. I visited Ellice and my sweet Laurana, drank coffee in the kitchen with PJoe and Janice, and tried my hand at brand new pie and cake recipes. I started teaching my girls to bake.
I discovered a new pinterest interest (although I’ve had an account for years), and am currently on day five of a facebook fast. I’ve taken Jackpot to the dog park enough to make actual friends with other regulars who bring their dogs, and I’ve spent weeks laying out in the sun by a pool where V and K perfected their back dives and front flips. I’ve dressed up for two weddings, both of which were more emotional than I was prepared for. I have traveled so much I currently believe I’m actually living out of my car, rather than at an apartment with Mary Alice, who has been one of my best friends for years. And I’ve watched as our friendship has grown deeper and deeper, especially over the last month.
My love for hammocks has been re-awakened. I helped my mom move some stuff from storage into a moving truck so she could unpack at her brand new house- something she has been waiting on and praying for for at least a decade. I got my hair cut. And colored. And it is AWESOME. I even got a tutorial on how to use hair products and which ones to buy. I perfected the art of the dutch braid, thanks to youtube (and a little assistance from Mary Alice). I have ROCKED learning how to curl my hair.
I’ve gone putt-putting. I’ve juiced. I watched food documentaries and learned stuff. I went hiking A LOT. I’ve taken time on various road trips to pull off and spend time at a river, a lake, a mountain lookout, and a super-cool, slightly-hidden pottery house. I stayed for a weekend in a log cabin with girls who make me feel incredibly special. I reunioned with Sarah and her husband. I celebrated the 5 year birthday/anniversary of the best church on the planet. I walked through an abandoned mall that creeped me out. I’ve seen more deer and fawns than I can count. I paid off my credit card. I bought the perfect flannel shirt.
I got a Netflix account that equally improved and ruined my life. I watched every season of Parks and Rec, and The West Wing (except I still can’t bring myself to view the final episode, knowing it’ll really be over).
I went to an actual running store to buy actual running shoes. I ran 5 miles without stopping one time. And with a few stops another time. I went running more than I wanted to. I did barre workouts less than I wanted to. I did yoga even less than that. I took a lot of naps. I read a lot. I knitted and crocheted more than I ever have in the summer. I’ve celebrated new mamas and babies. I celebrated new friendships. I said goodbye a lot to people heading to the mission field. I welcomed them home.
The Boy gave me a tshirt. We watched lots of sunsets and a few thunderstorms. I told him I loved him for the first time. I kissed him under a bridge at dusk. We ran a 5k and then I covered him in leftover colored corn starch. I kayaked for the first time. I paddle-boated for the first time. I paddle-boarded for the first time. I swam at night for the first time. I pretended to love red wine. I started to love red wine. I threw a surprise birthday party. I said “I love you” some more.
I drank a lot of coffee. I learned to love soy and almond milk, and I started to not love actual milk anymore. I didn’t take vitamins like I should have. I did floss like I should have. I wore sports bras and running shorts far too often. I didn’t wear dresses nearly enough. I did wear heels though- a couple times. I learned to love wildflowers…really and truly love them.
I bought a book about gardening vegetables.
I got the hiccups a lot.
I didn’t spend one weekend at my apartment.
People I barely knew taught me the real meaning of hospitality.
I coached the most amazing girls at a conference.
I only wore chacos.
I introduced V and K to the magic of Harry Potter. No pun intended.
I ordered something online.
I had to buy (and start regularly using) a patellar strap.
I bought things from local farmers.
I re-ignited my love of jigsaw puzzles and hummus. Not together. At least, not very often. I learned to love peanut butter. Especially with apples.
My love for nutella almost ruined my waistline. Again.
It’s been an incredible summer. And now it’s over.
As wonderful as things have been, it feels as if I’ve lived totally in one of two camps: One being that time is simply going by too fast to keep up, and the other being the exact opposite- what’s next and why can’t I figure it out? For the first time in my life (maybe the second, if you count the World Race), I feel totally out of control of my time, my work, my relationships. But in a good way, like I just get to sit back and enjoy what happens as it’s happening. I’m going to stop looking very far in the future, and instead focus my energies on being as fully present as I can, and sopping up every ounce of joy and fulfillment that I can.
It seems like something is missing. Like I’ve been only enjoying half of my time, and the other half is spent just trying to catch up. So I’m making a few conscious changes for this autumn. Most particularly in reference to my job and all the time I spend there. 100% of my time this summer has been spent in workout clothes (so that I can take the pup running, and I can get messy doing projects with the girls). But I don’t want to be that girl who shows up only in yoga pants or running shorts. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But I want, need, to put more effort into my life, to not allow time to just slip by because I’m too busy.
So one thing I’ve decided to do is take one day and dress in actual clothes: shorts made of a fabric other than nylon, jeans, an actual bra. Really anything other than what I’ve lived in. I think it will be good for my psyche (and also my poor workout clothes that haven’t had a dang break in three months) to wear normal clothes once in awhile.
I’m also challenging myself to get out of my house and do something else one night a week. Typically I leave my house around 6 am and return anywhere from 7-8:30 pm. Which means I’m in bed and konked out by 10:30 at the latest. That’s not a lot of time for myself. But I’ve decided it’s important for me, as tiring as it may seem at first, to do something besides come home and work out/read/knit/watch tv or any number of quiet, solitary activities and then pass out.
I actually allowed myself to do something spontaneous yesterday during an afternoon break at work (sometimes I have 3-4 hours off in the middle of the day). I took myself to see a movie at a dollar theatre (it’s typically $3, but on Tuesdays it’s half-off). The theatre was at the back of an almost totally abandoned mall (which kind of felt a little ghost-like). The floor was so sticky that every time I moved my foot, my sole suctioned off and then back onto the floor. The chairs smelled equally like body odor and cat urine, and both were strong. So strong, in fact, that at one point about halfway through the movie I honestly thought about leaving. But I stayed to the end, and it was a really enjoyable film- truly entertaining.
Today I decided would be the day I wore actual clothes. I did show up to work in my normal workout attire, because within 45 minutes of arriving I walk the girls (and two of their neighbors) to school and then go on a run with Jackpot. But afterward I came back home (and since I had a break today, too) I took a shower and changed into cloth shorts and a plaid tank top. It feels weird. But this is the vow I have taken.
I also took myself out for coffee this morning. I went to a coffee shop I’d never heard of (but google swore it was the best in Cincinnati). And it was cute– built into what I’m sure had to have been an old historic home. Good coffee, too. But absolutely ZERO parking and the one place I found had a strict one-hour policy with a tried-and-true history of cars being towed. So I enjoyed my iced hazelnut almond milk latte as quickly as I could and then skedaddled. Thus began a cafe crawl to find a new place with free wifi and free parking.
So now I sit at Panera, typing to you. Because local coffee shops don’t have free parking, or parking without vehicles already parked. I’m not sure what this new season has in store, but I’m really looking forward to it. Autumn has always been my favorite season and, traditionally, it has been very good to me. There are a couple weddings coming up, and some really special birthdays. The Boy will visit me and I will visit him. My sweet Ellice will have her third baby. The leaves will change color and I will hike some tall peaks to better enjoy the view. I’ll unpack the boots and the scarves and the cozy sweaters I pine for all summer long. I’ll try my hand at making hot cider for the first time. I’ll finish my journal and begin a new one. I’ll keep loving coffee. I’ll keep running with Jackpot. I’ll keep trying to keep up with the girls.
And I’ll enjoy every minute of every day, lapping up all the abundance life has to offer, knowing
“The Lord will keep [me] from harm–
He will watch over [my] life;
The Lord will watch over my coming and going
both now and forevermore.”
Bring it on, Autumn.