"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." The Great Gatsby
When I was a junior in high school, I took my one and only AP class -- American Literature, taught by Betsy Cussler, who I still consider one of the best teachers I've ever had in my entire life, including my professors at Lawrence. That class taught me how to analyze literature, and more importantly, how to write. One of the concepts that Ms. Cussler taught us was that of the symbolism of the seasons -- that in literature, spring often represents youth and naivete, and follows suit through the seasons until the dark and chill of winter, which represents old age, wisdom, and perhaps even death.
So I guess that would make fall the season of responsibility, routine, and consistency.
I'm not a huge fan of hot weather -- it drains me. All I want to do is sit on the sofa in the A/C and watch TV. I never feel like preparing food because turning the oven on is too hot, and standing over a grill is uncomfortable. Combine that with the notion of summer being "playtime," filled with parties, BBQs, weekends at the cabin, weddings, half-days on Friday... by the time fall rolls around, I'm ready to be done with it all, and "go back to school", so to speak.
We've had an amazing fall so far in that it has been quite an extension of summer -- several 80+ degree days, bright sun and blue sky. I literally switched the thermostat from A/C to heat on the same day last week, and my workdays have been horribly depressing simply because we can't all be outside.
I know I'll miss this in a month when we're living in a world of white, but right now, I'm ready for the crisp mornings... for sweater dresses and knee boots; wool coats and mittens.
And more significantly than the fashion choices and beef stews, I'm ready to "go back to school." To get back on track with my diet. With my exercise routine that involves nights at the gym rather than mornings on the pavement. With my alcohol-and-social-activity-free weekdays, and -- perhaps -- even going back to Weight Watchers meetings.
I stopped going to meetings last year when I came to the realization that it was like trying stuff more homework in an already heavy backpack -- the changes in my life (new job, Manfriend), made it really hard to consistently "do" meetings the way I like to do them: first thing in the morning, empty stomach, same outfit each week, preferably the lightest-weight clothing I own, after an evening of eating light, drinking a ton of water, and going to bed early. I know that it shouldn't matter, but the routine of meetings is comforting to me, and if I can't do it the way I want to, I psych myself out and start skipping, and that just makes for a waste of money and time.
But now that I'm somewhat settled into my work/ life balance, and now that we're at the super comfortable part of our relationship where our lifestyle no longer consists of multiple restaurant dates a week, it might be time to go back. To my old center, with my old leader, with the old comfortable routine that worked so well for me for all those years: namely, Saturday morning meetings after a quiet Friday night at home. Luckily, the Manfriend and I live close enough together that my old meeting is also convenient to get to from his house.
It was a wonderful weekend -- Friday night was taco and movie night at the Manfriends house, and an early bedtime. I found it refreshingly easy to make healthy choices and opted for loads of water (and half a diet coke), instead of beer or wine. I slept in unusually late, and made time for a very quick run before we were off to the evening's activity -- a work-related benefit / concert. Unfortunately, after an evening of declining hors d'oeuvres and enjoying the company of the Manfriend's co-workers, it was time for a fall of a very different kind: once we got home, my platform shoes and I tripped over a garden hose while rushing around the side of the house to unlock the back door (long story).
I skinned and bruised both knees and definitely wounded my pride.
By the time the Manfriend drove his car from the street out front to my driveway out back, and walked through the back door, I was on the sofa icing my knee. It seemed like a perfectly symbolic way to end the summer -- no more shorts or skirts showcasing the banged up knee; no more need for garden hoses, and pretty soon I won't really even need or want or be able to walk around the side of the house, because it will be covered in snow.
I fell into reality -- that rushing and buzzing around, much like I've been doing for the past few months, can have disastrous results. I'm done with being a summer Gatsby -- this Minnesota girl wants to go back to being an autumn Carraway.
Today is crisp. The sun isn't even out -- it is cloudy, with a chance of rain. I've got football on the TV and chili on the stove. I've got a solid meal plan in place for the week, and even though I've got social obligations Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week (AGAIN! When will it end!?), I'm REALLY looking forward to this weekend's "crisp cool date":
With Weight Watchers -- Saturday at 9:30 AM.
It's time to get back in school -- and sensible footwear -- and that's alright with me.
Off and running,