Autumn has always been, hands down, my favorite season. I know others who prefer the summer heat and the call of the beach, and others who wait all year for the first blooms of springtime. I always eagerly anticipate the flip of the calendar’s page to October so that I can revel in the amber glow of turning leaves, the pleasures of hot apple cider, cozy sweaters, and cool, crisp air. I’ll take pumpkins, candles, and a cute pair of boots any day over beach balls, snowflakes, or daffodils!
It has just occurred to me, as I celebrate the arrival of my favorite season of the year, that the time I prefer mirrors the season I currently live in my life. I am no longer baby-faced and naïve like springtime, nor am I yet devoid of many signs of life, like the winter. No, I am squarely in the comfortable, confident, experienced, wise, and strong autumn of womanhood.
I have lived through and enjoyed the spring and summer of my life, but I am now exactly who I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to be in my life. I have the benefit of lessons learned from life experiences. I have many of the answers that I need to guide me forward, or at least the confidence in myself to proceed as I need to. I am finally in a position to fully embrace who I am. I may not be the shy little violet of my teens and twenties or the invincible sunflower of early adulthood because I am something even better!
What’s so great about being middle-aged and living in life’s autumn? If you’re lucky enough to already be here with me, you already know:
Small stuff was enough to undo us, at times, earlier in life; but, we now have the skill, patience, and know how to overlook tedious details that might have overwhelmed our younger selves. We can more easily roll with the punches, bounce back from disappointments, and summon the strength to overcome challenges.
If you’re like me, you may have battled with body image and self-acceptance during the formative years. I have finally found peace and love for myself as I am. I don’t care so much what others think or if my hair/fashion/dress size. I learned that the only one I really need to please is myself and worrying about being someone else’s version of perfection was a waste of my own time and energy.
I enjoyed most of my younger years, but I will never mourn the fact that I’ve said my final farewells to acne, dating boys, and being a full-time parent to a newborn. There’s nothing quite like graduating to parenting kids who can have deep and meaningful conversations with you, forming a relationship with a partner who knows how to treat us right, and shedding the awkwardness of a body and mind still trying to find its place in the world!
I always remember my grandpa saying that he was proud of every wrinkle and gray hair because it was evidence of the life he lived and experiences he’d had. After all, not all of us will know the opportunity to age and eventually grow old! I panicked when the first strands of gray hair appeared in my mane; then, one day, my daughter was lovingly stroking my head and asked me if I had glitter in my hair because it sparkled in such a lovely way. I realized she was referring to gray in my hair, and I replied “yes, indeed! I do have glitter in my hair!”
Life is all about living and learning. None of us is born knowing exactly what we want out of life. It is through trial and error that we figure out what fulfills us and who we are. Both the good and bad times are necessary to mold and form us into the people we’re destined to become. Let’s face it, we need time to transform into beautiful butterflies! Us ladies living the good life of autumn are like a fine wine that develops its rich flavor with time–we’re not box wine, baby! We’re confident, we know what we like, and we know we’re deserving of quality and respect.
I’m not ashamed to say I have stretch marks from birthing two beautiful children. I have scars where once my heart was broken from divorce. Time has left marks on me from sunshine, laughter, and that one time I fell down the stairs and needed stitches. I used to see these marks on my body and soul as signs I had been beaten by hardship. With wisdom, I learned to see them as badges of honor and proof that I have overcome the odds stacked against me.
Life is far from over, and we’re ready to live it to the fullest and make the most of it! The benefit of living in the season of autumn is that we are finally equipped with the tools to do just that, yet we’re still full of energy and zest for life. I know that I can take on any obstacle that comes my way. At the same time, I know that I have a lifetime of blessings to appreciate, and so many more memories yet to make!
If you’re still living in spring or summer, I advise you to breathe in every magical moment. Most of all, I want you to know that autumn is coming. Autumn is the culmination of everything you will work for and wish for your whole life. It is also the perfect blend of youth and experience. In autumn, we can still do anything we could in spring or summer, only we appreciate it more. We’ve lived through many hardships and proved to ourselves we can survive.
Autumn is a new and beautiful adventure to warmly greet, not fear. I hope that you will embrace your autumn with the same exuberance that I feel for the arrival of fall each year! Please join me in crunching through piles of vibrant leaves, enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, and find joy in autumn!
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