My reflective mind draws parallels more-so than not. As the leaves change and it is evident that yet another season has arrived, I can’t help but think of my life, our lives, and how seasons are so easily depicted.

 Part of me is shocked that another autumn has arrived. Wasn’t it just New Years? Wasn’t it just a couple months ago that I had first discovered my love for this season in Asheville? As I saw the beauty of the changing leaves on a long drive through the mountains last weekend, I was also reminded of the beauty of the changing seasons in our lives.

A recent conversation with my sister made me realize how many seasons I have had to look forward to recently. With nearly five moves in the last year and a half, having three different jobs in three different states, and then getting engaged, my life has been full of waiting for the next big thing, knowing when it was going to come. I have always been in the process of seeing upcoming seasons and living for those next big steps.
And the seasons have all been as beautiful as the Aspen leaves. I have experienced ups and downs, but I have not felt stuck. I have known something new would be around the corner. And I have been able to fully embrace those moments.

What are my next big things? Getting married. Graduating with my Masters. Getting a full-time, big girl job. As the fall, winter, spring, and summer seasons all pass, I will have new mile markers to look forward to, yet I don’t want to get stuck in a pattern of looking forward to the next big event on my list.

You see, the presence of fall in Chicago was often accompanied by a two-week period of cool air and then winter rushed in. I wore my parka right away and didn’t get to enjoy the light-jacket, beautiful leaves, kind-of days. The fall was typically an indicator of winter, and I was forced to prepare for the next season. Being in Asheville and Colorado, however, I have learned that fall is so much more. Fall is its own season…not simply a warning sign for the next.

And I want to enjoy the brisk mornings, the apple cider, the pumpkin picking, the beautiful leaves. Just as I want to enjoy this literal season, I want to embrace this season of life. It’s easy to look forward to a wedding. It’s just as easy to look at my piles of homework and look forward to graduation. But I want to remember that I only live this life once. Winter, spring, summer, and fall may repeat in cycles, but being engaged and living life as a graduate student are one-time seasons.

For this reason, I will enjoy the seasons. I will smell the leaves, I will wake up early enough to feel the cold on my skin, I will drive through the mountains to see the views.

And yes, I will appreciate the piles of homework, the papers and tests. I will rejoice in this engagement period. I will appreciate the decisions that need to be made.

I am learning to love each season–to live out each season. I encourage you to do the same. If years pass with the blink of an eye, why not keep your eyes open and live for the exact season you are in?