I haven’t had much to say in this space of late. Most of my thoughts lately have been more lyrical in nature, and so I have been posting them on my writing blog, My Wordsmithing. I’ve also been trying to think of what exactly to write about in this space. This morning, it came to me.
Waking up this morning and getting ready to work, I began to think about the dwindling days – getting light later and dark earlier. It seems, somehow, a perfect metaphor for my current stage in life, as I get older and move closer to life after work.
For all of that melancholia about growing old, I realized that autumn is my favorite season of the year and has been for a long, long time. When I was younger, the falling of the leaves and the dormancy of most plant life seemed to suit my angst-filled teenage life. I didn’t feel as if I fit in with those around me and knew no one else could relate to that feeling. Years later, I realized that most teens probably feel something similar at some point along their rocky road to adulthood. That education did not go to waste!
These days, autumn remains my favorite season, although the reasoning has changed. When I speak of autumn, I mean after the calendar changes over to October, not the period immediately following the autumnal equinox in September.
For me, October is the quintessential autumnal month. The days, while getting shorter, still possess enough daylight to produce moderate temperatures. (Here in SW Idaho, highs reach the upper 60s and lower 70s, typically.) The nights, while crisp, are not bitterly cold. And the colors are often breathtaking.
October is to me the perfect time for a camping outing, especially if you have something other than a tent. Campgrounds are uncrowded and sometimes empty, and weekend outings become an opportunity for relaxation and reflection and not simply a two-day escape. The pace is slower and quieter.
Autumn is also my favorite season because it is a season of change. Or, perhaps to be more exact, it is a season that promises change as the old makes way and the landscape prepares for the promise of new life with the coming spring.
That aspect of autumn rings more true than ever for me this year, as I am about to embark on change of my own. After some discussion and deliberation and perhaps some second-guessing, my wife and I have decided it is time for me to leave the working world, at least the working world as most people define it. In a sense, I am giving up work to begin what may end up to be the most important work I’ve ever done.
Instead of punching a time clock at a job that offer little in the way of a challenge and less in the way of advancement opportunity, we have decided that I should work on our son. Specifically, I will try to help him and teach him some basic day to day skills that might help him to live a more independent life. In the last year, I think we both have seen some of his intellectual capabilities kick into a new gear, demonstrating capabilities I've long thought and hoped he had. As a result, we decided now is the time to strike while the iron is hot, as it were.
At the same time, I will also try to do some work on me. (In a sense, I guess you could say I am also developmentally delayed.) Some of that work will revolve around household management: menu planning, organization, cooking (rather than simply throwing something together for dinner), arranging appointments (car, medical, etc.) Another part of that work might fall under the category of personal improvement and development and will likely involve more physical activity and hopefully involve more writing. Underlying all of this, however, is the goal of helping our son to be all that he can be (to borrow a military marketing slogan).
The adventure begins November 1. In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are-a changin’, and I’m looking forward to the change. I just hope I’m ready.