Rain. Colder Mornings. Sweaters. Boots. A crisp breeze blowing through. The sense of coming changes (big ones). Tree leaves mostly green, but on the edges, bright colors: brown, red, orange, just on the tips. Wake up to rain pattering, steadily, quietly on the rooftop. A goose flies high in the gray sky, honking. A strong sense this season brings change in ways I can't yet grasp.
But the role to play is not to try to squint into the future (a futile exercise, at best), but to stay here in this season and live it out as best as I can. And in the midst of coming change, the message seems to be, fall is for finishing.
The projects in my hand, so to speak. Or if I'm being less poetic, the projects on my hardrive, scribbled on pages in my planner and mostly done on art pages and canvas scattered.
There are multiple themes within each season of the year, an abundance of "hidden in plain sight" lessons layered in nature, in flowers, in the trees.
We are deep into the season of autumn, and if you are like me, there can be a certain angst to it because we know how fleeting fall is. Much like spring in California, the season is short yet carries so much beauty and wonder. I hardly want to do anything except take long, lingering walks morning, noon, and night so I won't miss any of the fleeting fall beauty.
Besides the desire to enjoy and appreciate the beauty is matched with a restless energy, eager for a bit of action.
There is an energy to autumn that is different than the energy of spring. In the spring, we have the energy of all things new. After the darkness and dampness of winter, everything seems to burst out in joy as the sun comes out and warms the earth. All things grow with such joy and a lack of effort, it (whatever it might be for you) seems fun and well, not like work at all. Things grow. Relationships flourish. Friendships abound. Ideas proliferate. Networking, building, expanding, growing, delighting are all the activities of spring.
Autumn is more sober, isn't? It knows winter is coming while spring is blissful that anything could dampen its excitement. I think of spring seasons in my life where it felt the energy and resources wouldn't stop. I simply worked and played in the flow that seemed to be rather endless.
Autumn knows winter is coming but doesn't get discouraged. Instead, as the saying goes, "fall shows us how beautiful it is to let things go." In the letting go and gathering in, there is a focus and industrial effort to finish and clean up before we are shut down. Winter comes and with it, limits. We aren't as free as we were (by the way, flowers and trees and others in nature see winter as lifegiving not depressing as we do, but that's another article for another day).
These recent days I've found myself in a state of serial procrastination. I realized if I continued to delay taking action on a few important projects and activities, I would only be frustrated in the future. The reasons for the procrastinating is not terribly important (or unique!). What is important is swiveling lethargy to action.
And fall is the ideal time to lean into some forward focusing activity.
Are there some projects, tasks, home repairs, professional development, relationship building activities you've had on your mind and heart for some time? Here is what I'm doing to lean into the beauty and energy of the autumn season and finish a few things before 2023 concludes.
Focus on a Few Things
I've got three things to finish. Completing all three might be a tad ambitious, but if I eliminate some of the pleasant distractions in my life, I think this is a doable list. One is a home project and the other two are creative related.
Break Down the Tasks
There a many helpful guides and organizational experts to help guide us through how to move through tasks. In a nutshell: a little bit of planning helps the execution move much more quickly.
Paper planner is still my go to for writing down projects and remaining committed to the task. Sometimes I'll take a poster board and thick markers and write down what needs to be done along with boxes to mark.
I identify when something needs to be done (mark that on the calendar) and write in the daily / weekly tasks essential to completion.
I will schedule the hours into the week for project completion, marking off times as priority as if they were on similar levels as an appointment, meeting with my boss or going out to lunch with my Mum.
Even though I'm better at starting things than finishing, there is so much more satisfaction in finishing. It helps me to have some sort of incentive to finish something. Sometimes that incentive is enjoying a quiet evening at home with a book in bed with a cup of hot chocolate. The incentive doesn't have to be expensive or fancy.
Cover the Autumn with Thankfulness
I wonder if some of us avoid finishing because there is a bit of sadness with letting go. To finish something is to release it, to give up creative control. Recently, I came into awareness that my season of influencing someone was finished, at least in the way I used to. This is actually a good thing, the individual is growing and maturing and doesn't need me as in the past. Happy for her, a bit melancholy for me. I realized I had the opportunity to finish well and be thankful for the season or let sadness encapsulate me. I knew what was good for both of us was for me to be celebratory and thankful and make this as fun of a transition as possible. It wasn't without its moments of tears, but we navigated it much better than if I had chosen to be mopey.
As fall keeps moving, I hope you find the cadence to both enjoy the beauty and gifts of the season while finishing up a few things with purpose.
Remember, the year is a marathon, not a race.
Focus on one thing. Finish it. Calmly. Confidently. Then move on to the next thing. It is possible to both enjoy the rich abundance of the season and finish the tasks in front of us.