Yesterday it was up in the 80s and humid. In years past I used to feel a little sadness about summer ending, like it went by too quickly, although autumn’s arrival is always welcome.
This year was a first. I couldn’t wait for summer to be over. Granted, I’m a little bummed I didn’t swim as much as I originally wanted, but I was also prioritizing training for Pelotonia and soaking up the sun that way. Although in all honesty, summer felt like one of those seasons I just needed to get through, which incidentally is how I feel about the winter months.
Never thought summer and winter would become one in the same to me, but here I am.
But it’s the first day of autumn, and I couldn’t wait for it to get here. I bought one of the new shades from OPI’s 2022 fall collection shortly after Labor Day to get an early start on my transitional colors. This may sound goofy, but in years past I used to keep my summer nail colors on rotation until October 1st, since summer technically isn’t over until September 22nd and bright colors are my signature. But this year after Labor Day, my usual summer brights looked garish. So I’ve been wearing Claydreaming, a neutral brown-purple from the fall collection. It’s meant to be a grounding color, and I’m still loving how it looks.
The nail polish is a very tip-of-the-iceberg example. Overall, I’m feeling transformative, like it’s time to start leveling up again and refresh myself at work, with running, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The temperatures are dropping, the days are slowly getting shorter and soon the Columbus Marathon will be upon me. Once the marathon is past, if the trees haven’t started turning colors yet, they will erupt into gold, orange and vivid red.
So all-in-all, autumn feels like a very natural time to start some transformations and get whatever balls I need rolling into winter.
Aside from the world around me fostering the “gotta work on myself” feelings, autumn being my birth season is also playing a role. I’m turning 31 in December, nine days before Christmas specifically. I’m a very late in autumn baby, but autumn nonetheless, and the few months around me being a time of transformation and preparation for what’s to come – the fracas of the holidays and the dead of winter – inspires the motivation to take inventory of what’s been working, what’s not been working, and start cutting the non-productive things out.
Christmas coming up and planning for the 2023 race season is forcing me to look at my finances. I’m not going to put exact numbers on the internet, but coming off unemployment forced me to use the credit card and dip into my savings when I definitely didn’t plan on it. Thankfully I had enough in the savings to get me through the problem, but still – who really wants to spend the emergency fund on an emergency? Then when Grandpa passed I used retail therapy to try to find some joy. That accomplished nothing.
I have an appointment with my personal banker to talk over some plans to get my credit card debt eliminated, and I’ve decided that I’ve got to go through a period of going all-in to get that paid off before I can really commit myself to travel races again.
Speaking of travel races, I had a frank talk with myself the other night. Part of it was money-related and reminding myself that I don’t need to be getting fast food if I’m serious about saving money, but the other elephant in the room I had to acknowledge was that I lost a lot of speed over the past two years. Granted, my life goal is not to run Boston. But, I need to get my speed back up, especially if I’m doing a travel race and have to be checked out of a hotel by 11 a.m. My personal best for a half marathon was 2:10. This past year, I’ve been running 2:40 or 2:50. I don’t need to be taking almost three hours to run 13.1 miles, especially if I can run 26.2 in a little over five.
I know my tagline here is “Sometimes fast. Always committed.” But frankly, I need to prioritize the fast part again. I don’t want to dedicate time and money to a travel race to move at snail pace and be worrying about check out time instead of focusing on the race.
And finally, I want to start prioritizing self-care again. I came to the realization after my work frustrations earlier this month that I can’t only schedule a hair appointment or do an at-home pedicure after a meltdown – that I’ve got to plan for self-care time and keep regular with that like I would a recurring doctor’s appointment if I had a condition that required it. I suppose you could day I do have a condition – 30-year-old full-timer who hates checking email because I never know if the “high importance” tag is for a true emergency or what the sender thinks is an emergency, and most folks’ concept of an emergency skews towards the petty.
So reader-friends, fall is my time to come alive and get things done. It’s my time to go on hikes and re-organize closets, to drink apple cider and start making calls, to go on my annual photo walk around German Village and fill up notebooks of goals. I’m ready for a change, and what better day than the first day of autumn?
Yours in writing and running,