I’m in love with fall. My favorite days are when the sky is blue and the air is crisp, when the leaves are just about to turn and there is promise in the air. It’s sweater weather, it’s warm flannels and riding boots, it’s knit scarves and pumpkin carving. It’s running by the river, the air chilly enough to make you feel alive, watching as the leaves float down to kiss the ground, smiling as the dogs you pass jump on their owners in excitement. It’s singing along to Taylor Swift’s old songs at the top of your lungs with your roommates, because there’s no better soundtrack to fall than her music. It’s burning candles that fill the apartment with chai and pumpkin spice; it’s getting to wear your favorite fall scent. It’s the anticipation of new beginnings, knowing that everything will soon change.
But I also hate fall. It’s in the way the wind gusts past me on the sidewalk, blowing the fallen leaves around my feet. It’s in the way I question everyone and everything- what am I doing with my life? Fall is nostalgia, a longing for something that never was and maybe never will be. It’s the unsettling feeling that I’m missing something, something vital. It’s being not quite happy, despite the fact that fall is my favorite season.
It’s loneliness, busy nights and empty days. Maybe because it’s the beginning of cuddle weather, making me feel more alone than I’ve ever been in my life. Maybe it’s missing home, as the seasons change here in Boston and the weather remains stubbornly hot in California. Maybe it’s knowing I won’t be home for my birthday or for Thanksgiving, and remembering all the birthdays I’ve spent crying. Maybe it’s reminiscing about childhood, about how simple everything was when I hadn’t grown up so fast. Maybe it’s seeing my life in front of me, an uncertain path, and seeing my life behind me, the steps I’ve taken to become who I am. I walk where two paths converge, I stand in the present, and that kind of scares me. As someone who lives constantly for the future and reminisces constantly about the past, the present has always been an afterthought for me.
Life does start over in the fall though; fall is the harbinger of new beginnings. Summer’s gone, lazy days at the beach only a faint memory. In fall, we can be who we want to be, love who we want to love, do what we want to do. We can cry for no reason if we want, because sometimes life moves too fast and our hearts move on too slow. We can start anew: smile at a stranger, venture outside the city you’ve always lived in, play in piles of leaves like you used to do when you were a child. We can make resolutions now to be brighter and happier- in the face of the coming winter, what better hope is there than that, to hold onto a smile in the dark, cold days?
It’s a season of transitions, of remembrance and bittersweet endings, of hope and new beginnings, and we should take advantage of this.
Restlessness, nostalgia, happiness, melancholy; fall is a whirlwind of emotions as my feelings change along with the weather. Whether I’m happy or sad, whether I want someone to hold my hand as we walk by the river or whether I can’t stop smiling at the sheer beauty of the season, fall is a time where my emotions run free, stronger than ever. I can’t help but love it and hate it at the same time, and maybe, just maybe, this fall I’ll finally find what it is that I’m looking for.