Last weekend marked the unofficial end to summer, with all the good and bad that comes with it. The air is changing, the light is changing, the days are shorter.

Fall is my favorite season. I love the nip in the air, the sense of purpose and things to be done. I love corduroys and sweaters and hot cider and pumpkins. I love picking apples and baking pies, stews set on low to cook all day, and trees set aglow.

There is, however, another element to this season that is less comfortable: Change.

I don’t know if the season itself actually invites change in our lives, or if we simply notice it more when set against the backdrop of brilliant leaves and dropping temperatures. Either way, fall has earned the reputation for transitions, and I am feeling it.

My life has had two major changes in the past week: I moved my horse to a new barn, and I moved my first born into college. Both of these events are joyful and thrilling and utterly correct – and both carried so much anxiety.

Moving my horse was tough. I really loved where she was. It was close, it was beautiful and I like the people who live there a lot. I had thought we were “settled” for the long haul. (Note to self, the simple act of having that thought seems to send some sort of message to the universe that it is time for a shakeup.)


But in one week the situation went from “perfect” to “moving.” No one did anything wrong; there was no fault or error. No arguments. It was simply one of those moments of change. If you’ve ever wrestled to get into an old beloved pair of jeans, you know that sometimes all you can do is give thanks for what was and find something else to wear. The jeans aren’t bad, they just don’t fit.

Dropping my son at college was a different kind of tough. I’ve known this one was coming. I’ve been preparing. This one was on the map, and clearly a good thing. My kiddo is launched and on his way – and loving it. Once on campus, he went about his business of settling in and setting up his space. When the time came for parents to leave, he said a hearty “see you!” and began to stride purposefully away.

I had to threaten him with “Don’t make me start telling the birth story” just to get him to come back for a photo. Since that moment, all indicators (i.e. radio silence) are that he’s happy and adjusting. This is good.

Two different moments with a lot in common. Both positive, both necessary – and both requiring some period of “mutual annoyance” to set themselves into motion. I’ve long been convinced that teenagers must be difficult, otherwise how would we parents ever let these lovely beings leave our homes? I’m expanding my theory now to all of us humans and situations: breakups, career change, moving. How one understands and reacts to the annoyance is what matters. Do you let it convince you things went sour? Or welcome it as a nudge to create something new?

Just as you don’t get a pearl without one seriously irritated oyster, sometimes a better, more full life requires some discomfort to get going.

Here’s to fall, here’s to change. May we all keep moving and creating our best lives.

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