Fall is Approaching Once Again…

Usually, this is the time of year when I suggest that you “fix” things before the holidays. Beyond the previous sentence, I’m not going down that road again this year.

Instead, I’m going to ask you to reflect on what autumn means to you. As readers, most of you could be described as entering the autumn of your life, in my case that would, optimistically, be late autumn. Happily for me, autumn has always been my favorite season.


As an adolescent, it meant that the drudge work of spring planting and summer tending was done for another year. Yes, harvest was hard work, but it was also an end with respite ahead. Respite that included hunting season with a neighbor and an uncle who took me under their wing to rescue me from my father, much to his annoyance.

In high school, it meant football games and dances and while I was neither athletic nor adept on the dance floor, I enjoyed both in any case. After high school, it mean escape to college and real freedom from a truly oppressive home.

Then came the years in Alaska with a new life to explore, unimagined challenges and rewards, idiosyncratic people, and settling in for the winter.

And now, at 76 (how did I ever get to be that age???) I see some of the same respite, As I am sure many of you are discovering, a lot of old questions are disappearing or have been answered. To get married? Have children? Find a career? Plan for retirement? And so on. I’m no longer troubled by those concerns – for better or worse, they are answered.

But with many of life’s questions answered, what’s left?

As one client many years ago answered, “I found myself drinking to fill the time until I died.”

Happily, he was able to divert himself into more satisfactory time fillers.

However, he does raise an interesting point for all of us – do we move ahead with a sense of purpose or do we succumb to the inevitable?

I think it’s hard to beat Jimmy Carter’s answer, or Grandma Moses’, or thousands of other very senior citizens’, who relished the opportunity to create in ways that had eluded them during the busy days of their early and middle adulthood.

What have you planned or are planning?

I am often reminded of many of my Alaskan friends who, after 25 or 30 or more years in the North, achieved the long dreamed of retirement in Hawaii. Sounded so good. Yet after a year or so they left Hawaii and returned North, bored to death by endless summer.

I know I am feeling much the same about the sameness of southern California, though I have no wish to return to 30, 40, 50 or more degrees below zero and a scant few hours of daylight. Still the allure of the eastern hardwood forests of my youth are a real temptation. Perhaps it is time for one last adventure.

And that, I think, is an answer and, as is frequently the case, it comes down to “doing stuff” as opposed to failing to engage in our own lives.

Any thoughts you would care to share?