4 In Autumn/ What I Learned

What I Learned This Fall

1. I’m a morning person only if my mornings are quiet and slow.

As long as I have a quiet hour to sip my coffee, read, and journal I love getting up early. But please don’t make me talk to people or deal with burnt hash browns or do anything harder than scramble eggs in silence.

2. I do actually know some pop culture references. Just not from the early 2000’s.

Much as I loved the original Gilmore Girls series I missed almost every pop culture reference except the ones about Lord of the Rings. I thought I was culturally illiterate. But then I watched the revival and I actually knew what they were talking about. Turns out I just didn’t get the references from when I was ten. (P.S. – I wrote about How Gilmore Girls Helped Me Love My Right-Now Life over here.)

3. Prepare for the transition from Sunday to Monday

We’ve all heard of post-vacation blues, but I’m here to tell you post-weekend blues is a real thing. No matter how much I enjoy my work and the routine of the weekdays I always feel melancholy when Sunday evening rolls around. I’m learning to anticipate this, prepare ahead as much as possible so stress isn’t added on top of the blues, and accept that transitioning from leisure to work will always feel a bit bumpy.

4. Do your writing with journal open and everything else closed.

I heard about this trick from Lauren Graham’s memoir and I love it. It ensures that my writing time is actually used for writing and not scrolling through Facebook while providing me with a place to go if I really feel stuck. I’ll journal about how I feel stuck or what I’ll make for dinner or what the man at the table over from me is wearing, and when I get words going I’ll jump back into the project I’m working on.

5. Log off of everything on Friday night

I love social media – especially Instagram. I’ve curated my feed so that everything on it is beautiful and worth looking at. And yet I found myself feeling a little stifled by too much of it at the beginning of fall. There’s a temptation that comes with it to produce and compare and see how you’re doing in terms of likes and follows. I felt cramped. So I’ve made a habit of deleting all my social media apps on Friday evenings, logging off of everything, and giving myself a chance to completely ignore everything outside of my actual life for the weekend. You guys. This is saving my sanity. And curing me a little of over-using social media during the week. I will continue this practice forever.

6. You probably can’t get everything you want but you can get some of it and learn to be content with it.

Partial solutions. That is my answer to everything these days. (Thank you, Tsh Oxenreider.) I may not have as much undivided quality time with my husband as I’d like but I get an evening or two a week and that can be good enough. I live far away from most of my close friends and don’t get the weekly coffee dates like we used to. But we can text throughout the week and catch up in person every few months and this can be good enough. I wrote all about it here, because I could talk about how partial solutions are saving my life forever.

7. My aversion to collecting junk, shopping, holding onto stuff and going to thrift stores makes costuming shows difficult

In a moment of weakness I somehow found myself volunteering to costume another high school play this fall. And despite my whining I actually did love finding the perfect (or good enough) outfits to bring each character to life. But what I DON’T love is scrounging through junk heaps which is basically the job description of a costumer. At least a costumer on a budget.

8. Sometimes the impact of significant life events doesn’t hit until later.

My husband and I backpacked across Colorado for a month this summer. And then we got back and immediately jumped back into normal life and living in the woods became a distant memory. But the further removed we are from this adventure the more I think about it, and notice all the many ways it shaped and changed me. It was fun, yes. But it was also so much more and I’m just starting to realize that. (Here’s one thing that the trail helped me understand.) 

9. Never underestimate the transformative powers of running when you’re stuck in the doldrums.

First – doldrums is such a perfect term for the listless and aimless state I find myself in on a regular occasion, especially during the winter months. It’s not that I’m depressed, I’m just unmotivated to do anything but lay on the couch and scroll through Facebook posts I’ve already seen while simultaneously berating myself for wasting my life. But nothing beats the doldrums like lacing up the nikes, stepping outside, and putting one foot in front of another. The longer I run the better I feel. I used to say I ran so that I could eat ice cream, and that remains true, but I also run so that I can remember how invigorating it is to be alive. (If running isn’t your thing I’ve compiled a list of five minute practices here that might help you pull yourself out of the doldrums.)

 

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In the past I’ve added books I’ve been reading and what I’m loving to this list of what I’ve learned. Now I’m including that in my monthly newsletter. I’ve been loving compiling all the good things I’ve found each month in one place. Click here if you’d like to be added to my mailing list.

 

I’m grateful to Emily Freeman for introducing me to the practice of noticing what I’m learning. At the end of each season she hosts a little virtual gathering where everyone is welcome to share what they learned. Perhaps you’d like to join us?

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Kirstin
    November 30, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I’m the same way in the mornings. I love my mornings…in fact, I’ll admit that if my hubby goes in to work later it drives me crazy because it throws off my morning routine…lol

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      November 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Haha, yes. I totally get this!

  • Reply
    TJ
    November 30, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Great lessons. I also enjoy quiet mornings after my husband goes to work. If he goes in later, I too am off.. I am going to try having my journal open while writing and nothing else. I get too easily distracted. For me, a walk helps me get out of a funk. Maybe it is just getting myself moving.

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      December 4, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Yes – walks help a lot for me too. Thanks for stopping by!

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