Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The colors of the leaves, the crispness in the air, warm scents of cinnamon, ginger and clove. The promise of pumpkin or sweet potato pies set my soul (and inner child) aglow with blissful giddiness. I find that this is when I turn back and assess the previous months of the year, what goals I had set up for myself and what did I actually accomplish and how will I achieve the rest. I feel very reflective this time of year, not just because this is the month of my birth and emergence into this world, but because this is the time that we stop and think of all the things that we are most thankful for. We can step outside of ourselves and really take a good hard look at our lives. How much we are able to achieve in a year's time. To truly appreciate our families, friends, jobs, homes, social experiences and all of the people and things in our lives that we take for granted.
One of these things for me personally is time. I always think that I will have time and yet I find that am always floundering, wondering where the time went to. I realized this when I had said to a friend “How is it November already, wasn’t it July two weeks ago?” “How did I miss three months?” “Time is flying by.” This is when I realize what a fast-paced world we live in. My hardest lesson with this was 3 years ago, when a good friend of mine's sister was struggling with breast cancer. She had been diagnosed in January, she had surgery, and then started chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the chemo was doing more harm than good. She wasn’t responding well to treatment.
I was at work one day, my friend was meeting her family for dinner after her shift. I saw all of them gathering outside of the store, and thought I should go out say hello and give her a hug. But the store got busy and I figured I would see them later. A day later my friend informed me that her sister had passed during the night. On the day of their mother’s birthday who had passed away a few years previously. While I had dealt with death before, this time was different. I had an opportunity to say goodbye and I didn’t take it because I thought I had time. This past Samhain this event reminded me of the brevity of life and the slippery eel of time. I feel that she shared that lesson with me 3 years later. To appreciate the loved ones in your life while you can, to not take the life we have on this earth for granted.
So, spending time with those we care about, and staying in touch with old friends (and new ones) is an important thing. It is something we should think about all the time. Not just at the holiday season and yet every year at this time, I find myself thinking about the people who might have slipped through the cracks in my life. The important message of the holidays is to slow down and enjoy your family and friends, spending quality time with your loved ones. So try not to get too stressed over finding the “perfect” present. Give a homemade handcrafted gift from the heart, a plate of cookies, a thoughtful handmade card. Or if you feel you should purchase something, try to support your community by shopping locally this holiday season. Enjoy the time you have, for the future is not promised.