A week ago I returned from my best friend’s wedding in California. The setting was serene. It was a gorgeous outdoor wedding among tall trees and vibrant flowers. The air was a perfect room temp and the hills glowed with a golden afternoon sun. As we were setting up for the ceremony, a guest asked the groom, “What if it rains?” He smiled and said, “That’s not a legitimate question. It never rains here this time of year.” The weather is always the same–Pleasant.
Now, after coming back to the East Coast, there’s clearly a shift in climate. Cool, crisp Fall air has begun to descend upon the city of Boston. Long summer days have transitioned into earlier and earlier sunsets. In fact, the change of season is no more apparent than during the month of September. Interestingly, the stock market has historically preformed worse during this time of year than any other, an effect that is sometimes attributed to the disappearing daylight that inevitably makes investors risk-adverse.
While I didn’t sell off any of my assets, I dislike like the end of summer. To be honest, winter in Boston is something I’ve perpetually feared. It is hard for me to embrace frigid days and dark nights. But as winter blues lurk in the near future, I’m trying to see the shift in season in a new light. I’m trying to embrace the change in season as a beautiful way mother nature keeps us growing and evolving.
There are many places on the planet where the weather essentially never changes. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it doesn’t. The average monthly temperature stays within in comfortable bandwidth.
When I was living in Malaysia, the weather was like this. The sunrise and sunset were like clockwork at nearly the same time all year, and I thoroughly enjoyed not have to check the weather channel every day before I left my apartment. I knew exactly what the forecast would be.
At the same time, the substantial sunshine and constant climate has a potential downside. It is static. There is no sense of time progressing. This repetitiveness can be a trap that leads to complacency. It can create an endless “Groundhog’s Day” loop. Ultimately, all the sameness may make you wonder if it’s time for change. If it’s time to add a little spice and variety into the way you’ve been living.
Changing seasons force us to accept one simple but challenging truth:
It’s easier to hold on to the way things are than it is to let go and grow.
While it can be annoying to let go of the delights of one season (and this is coming from a flip-flop and tank-top aficionado), it encourages us to accept the flow of time. It’s a reminder that our days on planet Earth are short and ephemeral, so don’t get too attached.
Furthermore, we all sometimes need an external push. This is why we have deadlines and due-dates. Creating an external marker of time holds us accountable for finishing our work. The seasons can be a similar tool to keep us progressing. The weather pushes us along, saying, “Hey, it’s time switch up how you were doing things. Don’t get stuck in a routine. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.”
As Summer slips into Fall and chills into Winter, I will try to adopt this perspective. I will see the seasonal change as a reminder from nature to keep going. Don’t get stuck here, not matter how pleasant. Learn to love and to let go. Doing so is in fact the only way to continue growing.
I’m Jeff Siegel, a wellness coach and mindfulness teacher, helping people upgrade their habits and improve their health. For free bi-monthly wisdom on how to eat, move, and be healthier, sign-up for my newsletter. If you’d like to explore working together, you can schedule a private 30-min consultation call with me.