"I was born in February, but I come alive in October. A hazelnut. A filbert. October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!"
- Rainbow Rowell, Attachments
I'm always a better person after a vacation.
Yesterday's post was actually written Friday, before Jordan and I left for Fairhope, Alabama, this past weekend for an obviously much-needed getaway. It was only four hours away, but it might as well have been across the country for the good it did me. We stayed in a bed and breakfast right by the bay. We took long walks. I finished two books. (Longbourn and Attachments, for those so inclined.) We sat outside and watched the sunset. We ate pizza and drove backroads and took naps and watched Tom Hanks outdo himself in Captain Phillips.
It was just what I needed.
We always travel so well together, Jordan and I. Our time together away from home gives us a chance to reevaluate, to make plans, to talk about past, present, and future. We did a lot of that this weekend, and it wasn't stressful or overwhelming or tiresome. It was good. Our talks gave me renewed energy for the next few months, gave me purpose for this, my favorite season.
I don't want to waste autumn with stress and heartbreak and hurt. (Even though those things exist and, as far as I can tell, will keep existing.) Instead, I want to remember that fall is a gift. Change -- no matter how hard -- is a gift. And so, for the next few months, some goals, some purpose, to fully experience this season I love so much.
1. Call Fidelity and tour homes. We've been putting off some of this house stuff, because -- let's be honest -- buying a new house is stressful, especially if you've never done it before. This weekend, we made a plan for going through the process slowly. Our end game? Moving to Thomasville sometime in early 2014. I like this plan. I am comfortable and happy with this plan.
2. Make plans with friends. I've worked so hard at the store this year that I've forgotten this truth: Owning a store is still just a job. It does not have to become my life. It does not have to own me, but I think I've let it a little bit. I'd like to spend the next few months cultivating the friendships we do have in town -- nothing major. Just movies and dinners out, little things to remind us we still have community here; it's just smaller than before.
3. Watch scary movies, then movies I love. We always watch suspenseful movies during the month of October to get us in the spirit of the season; we're starting this week -- hooray! I've also got plans to watch You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, and Dan in Real Life, three of my favorite fall films.
4. Cook a new recipe for Thanksgiving. My copy of Country Living magazine came last week, and it included some pretty delicious-looking recipes for a Thanksgiving feast. Maybe I'll feel like throwing a Friendsgiving this year (wouldn't that be something?), but even if I don't, we're spending Thanksgiving in town with my family, which means more time to test recipes and try something new. I can't wait!
5. Send cards to friends. Last week, one of my dearest friends gave me some lovely advice. Any time I start to feel lonely or long for my long-distance friends, I need to communicate: send a text, write a letter, mail a package, leave a voicemail. I need to connect. I need to remind myself I have community, they just might not all live right here, right now. I love this idea, and I'm already thinking about making it a new year's resolution come 2014.
6. Go to exercise class. This is a tough one; we'll see if I'm brave enough to follow through. A new studio opened up near our house, and it offers a free class on Sunday afternoons. I'm a little chicken to go alone, but maybe it's worth a shot?
7. Eat at home three to four nights a week.
8. Read two books a month.
9. No technology past 11. We've been spending a lot of time on our phones, watching Netflix, browsing the Internet. I'd love to have a "no technology past 10" rule, but let's face it: Scandal comes on at 10 on Thursdays, so that's not happening. I thought 11 would be more practical, but really, the goal is simply to get to bed a little earlier, to shut down earlier in the evening and get a bit more rest. The days are shorter, so I think this should be easy.
10. Walk. Earlier this year, I was walking every day, and we spent a great deal of September walking in the evenings. Walking is so, so good for me, for my emotional and physical well being. We live in a such a great neighborhood right now, perfect for walking long and short routes. I'd like us to walk a little each evening, to spend some time outside in the fall air.
So there you have it. I'm not sure how many of these I'll actually accomplish, but you know what? I feel good about it. Really good. I love setting (and keeping!) goals, and I love having a plan to follow for the next few months. I know running a retail shop during the holidays will be tough, stressful. But it's still just a job, and there's so much more to life than that.
Cheers, then, to October. To vacations. To fresh starts. To waking up.