October 12, 2012

Life in Seasons

Last year, I had to re-learn how to live.

Life’s craziness collided with bipolar’s craziness, and it was too much to handle. While the grace of God and loving friends/family carried me through, recovery was far from simple. Piece by piece, I needed to remember the value of each day, something I managed to lose somewhere along the way. I started keeping a journal to record moments I'm glad I didn't miss. Through this process, I discovered the value of living with the seasons.

It kind of starts in September. The summer sun is still shining, but you know the school year began because things aren’t so crowded during the week days. The mall is not crawling with jr. highers, the beach is down to a reasonable population, and even Target is reduced to the typical bunch of old ladies and moms with toddlers. I realize I sound elderly myself, but now that I’ve experienced the amazingness of a non-traditional schedule, I never want to go back to a 9-to-5 cubicle. But, I’m getting off-track.

October: Proclamations of “I can't believe it’s so warm!” and “How strange! It’s supposed to be fall!” lead me to believe that many Southern Californians suffer from weather-related amnesia. People, it is ALWAYS hot in October. Every year. In fact, that’s one of the many reasons I moved here. Meanwhile, watching the rest of the country enjoy autumn through television and facebook newsfeeds produces a tiny bit of wistfulness. But, never fear! I found a solution!

I appeal to the senses and savor seasonal moments. Currently, it’s the “autumn leaves and spice” Febreze alternated with another natural candle scent. I bought apple cider yesterday, am making apple dumplings today, and will enjoy a caramel apple with a scary movie in a couple of weeks (gotta pace ourselves). I found an air freshener that smelled all fall-like in Bath and Body Works, but now my car sort of smells like candy… we'll pretend it’s in honor of trick-or-treat and keeping with the theme.

November and December, of course, have their own bundle of seasonal fun...  Cooler temperatures, warmer clothes, holiday food and the smell of warm cinnamon….  It would take pages and pages to describe all of this. Then, January, February, March, so on… they all have their seasonal treasures.

The facts are these:
All of these are superficial, small things. But, they keep me in the moment. The aromas, weather patterns, and tastes aren't available all year, so it’s important to savor them while they're here. It’s that act of cherishing that makes it special, and the specialness makes the moment matter.
All of it is just tangible reminders of the stuff that’s really precious about the seasons. That caramel apple and scary movie will be with close friends- kind of like caramel apples and scary movies in past autumns. The cinnamon smell is warm and cozy, like dark winter nights curled up on the couch in a living room lit by Christmas lights on the tree, with people you love nearby.

Life can be crazy overwhelming, but days are manageable and minutes are easy. I had to re-learn how to live, and I now embrace the moments, season by season.