Every year when October 1st rolls around, scores of people celebrate the beginning of fall and all the lovely things that come with it. Pumpkin everything! Halloween! Leaves! Changing colours! Sweaters! Thanksgiving!
Every year when October 1st rolls around for me, a ridiculous sort of anxiety starts to overtake me. In the past, it's manifested itself as a baking frenzy. I start reading Pinterest and I start wanting to make things. I've felt antsy unless I'm in the kitchen (Anthony never complains about this).
This year since I'm doing the low carb thing and baking is mostly out of the question, I feel a bit at a loss. Every day since September 21st, I've felt increasingly anxious about it being autumn. You see, I feel like I am never doing enough to enjoy autumn. While everyone is praising pumpkin spice lattes and decorating for Halloween, I feel trapped by the idea I'm not doing enough to enjoy autumn while it lasts.
Replacing your bed with a pile of leaves in order to enjoy autumn is not recommended.
I drive by signs for pumpkin spice lattes and the internal battle begins: "Oh I should get one of those...but they're so sugary and never as good as I think they're going to be. Ugh, but they're only around for a short time. Can I really budget the sugar today? It's also expensive. But Jaime, pumpkin spice latte!"
I drive by houses with bales of hay, pumpkins and other decorations and I feel jealous that I don't have a house to decorate for the seasons. I secretly vow that once I move into a house, I'll go all out. I'll really do autumn right.
I drive by trees changing colours and I feel downright guilty that I haven't taken the time to stroll in the park, breathed in the autumn smell, and immersed myself in autumn. I tell myself that I'm wasting autumn if I'm not fully immersed in it.
I see cute sweaters in the mall and I wish knit sweaters looked any good on me. How (superficially) perfect it would be to buy a beautiful cardigan and go for a walk in the park, sipping a pumpkin spice latte and planning what pies I'm going to bake that evening. That would be the textbook definition of enjoying autumn.
The truth is, I love autumn but dealing with the constant guilt of not enjoying it enough is getting to me. What a ridiculous problem to have.
This year I decided to create a fall bucket list. I thought if I made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish by November 1st, my anxiety would subside. Most of my list doesn't have anything to do with autumn and so the guilt and the anxiety is creeping back up as October inches forward. Maybe I need to revise the list to add more of the cliche autumn activities.
I talked to a friend today about this and he agreed he feels some anxiety about not enjoying autumn enough. I feel like I may be onto something here. How have we gone from simply liking this season to feeling immense pressure to enjoy it in some kind of LL Bean catalogue spread-approved way? Just to show you what I mean, I wrote that last sentence without even looking at the LL Bean website. Here's their front page right now:
See what I mean?
I don't have the answer to my questions. I don't know why I feel so much anxiety to enjoy a season I get to experience every year. I don't know why I feel like I have to enjoy it in such a rigid, pre-decided way. I don't know why just enjoying it simply and being happy it's October isn't enough. Why are we so focused on getting as much out of autumn as possible? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
(Non-sequitur P.S. from Jaime: I'll be updating again on Monday or Tuesday about my weight loss progress, so keep your eyes open for that.)