This is the first time in decades (possibly ever) that I don't despise the onset of fall with a raging passion. It's pretty freaking awesome.
Those of you who love fall are probably wondering why the mere mention of the word "fall" used to make me groan. I mean, come on, Char! It's a beautiful season! The leaves change into a beautiful array of colors, pumpkin spice everything hits the store shelves, and finally we're not breaking a sweat in a tank top and shorts since the dog days of summer are finally behind us.
It's that last part that does me in. Until this year, that subtle chill that would start to hit the air in late August mornings would mean one thing: winter is coming. And, as someone who deals with clinical depression and seasonal affective disorder, along with the colder weather meant shorter days and a brain that despised life for nearly six months of the year.
The lack of heat and sunshine have a paralyzing effect on my mind and body. Physically, the cold turns me into an achy old woman. I imagine this is similar to how I will feel all the time when I am old and my osteoporotic bones will compete with my arthritic joints for which hurt the worst. Mentally, I am just like all the plants that whithered away after the first deep freeze. I am numb, dormant. My thinking is disorganized. I lose interest in doing everything but cocooning myself in front of a TV and staring at it until it's time to fall asleep. It's about as high-function as I get until, several months later, the ground has thawed and I finally spring back to life.
(Yes, of course I am exaggerating just a bit, but maybe not as much as you might think. Despite my best efforts of taking vitamin D, exercising, and using a full spectrum light whenever possible, winter was still pure hell. Make no mistake.)
And now I live in a place where fall means that the temperature drops from the 90s and 100s down to the 70s and 80s. Simply going outside without a coat and not freezing to death has been an amazing experience for this time of year. It's downright messing with my mind; as we cruise through November, my mind still thinks it's August based on the temperature outside!
But it's not. Thanksgiving is next week. The holiday season is nearly upon us. I see businesses decorated in red and green already.
By this time of year, I usually feel like death already. Not this year, not yet. I don't dread waking up in the morning. I don't hurt all over. My mind is clear and I feel semi-productive. Moving to SoCal might be the best gift I've ever gotten.