I remember feeling fairly despondent the day I realized I wasn’t the only one who dreamt of simply traveling the world and writing and drinking coffee and strolling about unknown streets. My youthful naïveté had convinced me my dreams were original, and I felt certain I wouldn’t have much competition in my quest to realize my surely attainable aspirations. Turns out, I share the same dream with pretty much anyone, anywhere, who has ever lived, on any planet, at any time, for always, and ever, amen.
Fall is upon me. I mean, it’s upon all of us, or at least those in my hemisphere, but..this is about me right now. And fall is upon me.
I never gave that much thought to fall, but then I had this boyfriend in college who was all about it. About the changing leaves and folky, Autumn-y tunes. He called it Autumn, not Fall. Anyway, since 2008, I’ve taken more notice of Fall.
I did grow up in Lubbock, where Fall didn’t mean much more than football season. There was no pumpkin syrup at coffee shops. There aren’t enough trees around to notice any changing colors. And I didn’t listen to anything outside of Coldplay, ever, so I didn’t understand the concept of good seasonal music.
Anyway, in the last few days Austin has taken on a very distinct Autumn feeling. The air smells different. It’s not physically painful to step outside. I can actually wear pants. PANTS!
I’ve been so eagerly anticipating all of this, and this last Saturday..it came. I walked outside after work and I felt it. And instead of a rush of happiness, I kinda wanted to crawl in bed and cry.
I met up with a friend for a beer, and she said, “It smells like memories outside.”
She nailed it. I think that with each new season, as it comes upon us, many of us feel a nostalgia..or something of the sort.
When I walked out of work Saturday, all the memories of Fall 2012 came rushing over me. It was…not the best of times. Adjusting back to life back in Austin after time in the hospital and a month or two on bed rest. Processing my quick departure from flight attending and life in New York. A real, ugly, heart-wrenching breakup. Trying to figure out where to go from there. It was a hard and a lonely time..but like all tough times, it has only served to strengthen and refine me.
I needed a night to be really sad and to feel really weird about the changing season, but now I’m sitting outside. Wearing PANTS. Drinking HOT coffee. Thunderbird is playing folky Amos Lee tunes.
I don’t even love Amos Lee, but music just sounds better in the fall. I drive with my windows down and every song I hear sounds like the best song I’ve ever heard.
I’ve been running lately. I’ve always hated running. In 2008 I signed up (and actually ran) a half marathon in hopes that it would teach me to love to run. Nope. Hated it just as much when I crossed the half marathon finish line in Virginia Beach.
But lately, I’ve been loving it. Looking forward to my runs. And this morning, running in 60 degree temps…I could have died happy in that moment.
New seasons. A time to start fresh, a time when you look at everything around you with new and appreciative eyes..I like it.
I have a lot of things that make me really happy. Like..really happy.
Lately it’s things like coconut water, crisp fall air, Foy Vance tunes, frisbee, my new brown boots, a rediscovered disposable camera, letter writing, and chai tea with a dash of cayenne pepper.
But I remembered something lately that me happier than chai tea. It struck me after I heard a story about an old woman who lost her home and everything she owns in the recent Colorado floods.
The woman was despondent. She had nothing left.
Ugh, how quickly those things can happen. Everything wiped away in a flood, a fire, a tornado, a hurricane. How quickly terminal illness can become a reality for us or someone we love. How quickly everything that we hold dear can be swept beneath our feet.
It’s terrifying, right? Nothing we have or hold dear here on earth is certain to stick around. That’s seriously scary.
But recently it occurred to me that that’s okay. Because what I hold on to, what my hope and my value and my everything rests on, is beyond this world. It’s all anchored on something that can’t be shaken and can’t be taken away.
So if I lose everything here on earth, that’s okay.
AND. If I never get an impressive or lucrative job while I’m here on earth, that’s okay too! I’ve been stressing about that a lot lately. Like..a lot. But my success doesn’t depend on how successful a career I build, how trendy my possessions are, how many likes I get on Instagrams, how people treat me, whether or not I marry and have 2.5 children, or how well-traveled I am.
SHEESH this is good news. Makes me rest easier and breathe deeper.
So, yeah. New brown boots make me happy. But having hope and value that’s anchored in something beyond this world..that makes me happier.
Last week I drove from Austin to Portland. It was such a breath of fresh air. For about 25 of those hours, I was flying solo. Or..driving solo, of course. Many of those hours were spent listening to music and not actively thinking about anything at all. I did have a few revelations, though.
Where there is an Old Navy, there too will be a PetCo. Or a Michael’s. These establishments seem to always cohabit.
One should never have a trace of leather in his/her apparel when in Phoenix.
Phoenix is the closest thing on Earth to Mars. It’s a bizarre, otherworldly land.
If I had to choose between death due to extreme heat or extreme cold, I would go with the latter. I always claimed I would choose the former, but no. No way. I also cannot tell you why this is something I have mused upon throughout my life.
One should not drive on dirt whilst it is raining. One should also not assume that the dirt is harmless/shallow or the rain is lacking in enough intensity to create substantial mud.
I am not strong enough to push a fifteen passenger van out of mud.
There is a direct correlation between the coolness of the music I listen to and the level of awake I am. When I start feeling weary on the road, my favorite middle school jams are all I want. We’re talkin’ Brandy, Toni Braxton, Seven Places, Avalon, and Mandy Moore. We’re also talkin’ Our Lady Peace, Weezer, and Oasis..but I would argue that those are still cool.
I lack the ability to sing along with anything without harmonizing. I’m physically incapable.
I like muted color palettes.
The Stripes gas station fountain beverage refill deal is the ultimate bargain when traveling across the country. Keep the same cup and use it at Stripes EVERYWHERE. Also eco-friendly. Downside: promotes and/or justifies higher consumption of soda.
It’s really sad how quickly magical things can become commonplace. Do people living around Yosemite and the Redwoods wake up every morning with the awareness of how unreal their surroundings are?
Travel does not satiate wanderlust. It inflames it.
The very concept of runaway truck ramps is horrifying.
Someone should seriously hire me to do something. I’m good at stuff.
newfoundland was beautiful in a way unlike any other place i’ve visited. i’m so thankful for my time there. i hiked for hours, and finally found a place to just sit for a while.
there were seagulls flying over the water..loud waves crashing against the rocks..ships passing in the distance..and even lighthouses flashing at me from across the water. i felt like i was living a cinematic wes anderson moment.
i’ve been wrestling with some tough stuff lately. while the moment was absolute bliss, it was also very lonely. that’s when this older woman walked by me. hardly anyone had passed by my spot, and i was surprised to see her. her words were simple and perfect.
sometimes we just need to clear our minds. cast all the bad things out there.
…enjoy every moment. i intend to do the same.”
i am always looking forward to the next thing..
but in this season i’m learning how to breathe and enjoy where i am.
i’ve been in the midst of too many amazing places, people, and opportunities that i’ve failed to embrace.
but on another note, austinites give me a virtual punch in the face every time they post a picture reminding me how amazing austin is. i’m flooded with them daily.
i’ll be back in austin at some point, but for now i need to enjoy the opportunities i’ve been given. i need to focus on all the exciting happenings in the coming months. i need to explore the guts of lovely little downtown jersey city..and its neighbor, nyc.
thanks sigur ros, for always bringing much needed clarity.
many of my best memories are from grandmommy and granddaddy’s house growing up.
granddaddy died around my birthday five or six years ago.
last year 95-year-old grandmommy sold their house and moved into a old folks’ home.
yesterday i fell asleep on the couch during the afternoon. afternoon naps often prompt vivid and unusual dreams.
i was taken back to their house, and everything was so so real. and i was so so happy.
my roommate came home and woke me from my deep sleep, and it took more than a moment to snap me back into reality.
my dream had been so bittersweet. it was really as if i was back with them…back in the place where i felt most at ease…most covered in affection and love and baked goods. granddaddy was in his chair reading his Bible, as he often did.
the realization hit me that i’d never get to be back at their house, and i’d never get to be with both of them together again. those days have passed.
the tears flowed, but i was terribly happy to have been taken back there for a spell. my heart has felt especially full since i awoke.
Last night was my first official trip as a flight attendant..and it was a “turn.” A turn means you fly to your destination and then fly straight back to your home base. It was a red-eye trip..we departed Houston at 7 pm and returned around 6 am this morning.
On the way back from Seattle we flew over Idaho. The sky was perfectly clear. The cabin was full of sleeping passengers. So still and so silent. I looked out the windows to see the Blue Mountains below. It was like nothing I had seen before. Witnessing this in the midst of a sea of sleeping passengers made it feel as if it was a scene set just for me.