Every September, I feel resistance, never quite ready to let summer go. The sweet taste of innocence and play, the long days and balmy hot nights, and timeless stretched soaks in nature.
I recall sweet memories of back-to-school shopping with my mom and getting excited over a few special outfits for those first few days. I loved the collection, feel, and smell of fresh new school supplies—vibrant, glittery binders, folders, notepads, pencils, pens, backpacks, and more.
I treasured the excitement of seeing friends five days a week and seeing my latest boy infatuation in the hallway, eager to catch a glance just long enough for the butterflies to return.
I adored Friday football games and the crowds of laughter, joy, and cheese bread and ranch at our local hangout, Pinkies Pizza. The anticipation of the Homecoming football game with cheer, the parade of class floats, king and queen, and the sight of old friends and flames that returned from college.
I have not always liked change and always felt a slight resistance from summer to fall, but eventually, I got on board despite my initial hesitancy. I am learning to embrace and sometimes even enjoy the change—even when it’s uncomfortable.
I think about the contrast between embracing change and savoring those sweet memories and wanting to avoid the uncomfortable.
In a life that is constantly about shifts and changes, we humans tend to seek certainty. Transferring from a place of certainty to not knowing and letting go is a daunting place to be. Yet we are asked to let go each day as cells die and regenerate with each inhale and exhale. In this constant turnover is how we heal.
When we shift our perspective and live more in the now, create more stability and flexibility, and welcome each new day, opportunity, and experience with beginners’ eyes, we relinquish having to know and open to wonder and mystery. We start to trust the process and honor our unique journey. Having faith in all that happens in this life is not to you but for you.
If it’s one thing we can count on, it’s change. Just as nature and seasons shift in shape and size, leaves fall, lie dormant in stillness, and seeds germinate and ripen and bloom, so do we. Sometimes our shifts happen suddenly; sometimes, they take place over the years. With more self-awareness, we begin to recognize these shifts and welcome them with more ease as they take place.
As I sit and write this piece, I hear the rides, screams, and live music of the 85th Annual Walnut Festival. I smell the sweet flavors of cotton candy and the festival food as they carry in the wind. I am reminded, once again, of the sweet taste of life and my childhood, of community. The hometown I grew up in and how it continues to shift and change and support just as I continue to shift and change. And to think, I would not have been experiencing this joy and the comfort of my frequent walks to Heather Farm Park if I did not make a significant change last year—moving from my home of 11 years to a new one.
We may not know where we are headed or what the outcome will be, but we can learn to trust and take pleasure in the ride in the process of learning and growing. The more present and flexible we become in allowing the shifts to take shape, time will slow into a sweet savoring, and the softer change will become.