Do you feel sad as the summer ends? The answer to that will depend a lot, I think, on whether or not you have school age children about to go back to school after the summer break!
I was always annoyed as a kid and later as a parent, to see the Back to School signs appear in the shops just before the children had even broken up for the holidays. As a kid, I hated being reminded. As a parent, I hated being nagged. (Still do, in fact! That approach has never worked on me!).
The Joys of the Seasons
I approach the end of the summer with mixed feelings. Yes, I love summer, it’s a great opportunity for getting out and about (especially to my favourite writing events), but I am also fond of autumn. I adore the changing colours of the crisp leaves (even when I’m busy raking up the ones from my oak trees. It does make for a great workout and I make good use of the Council Garden Waste Service on the leaves alone!).
Temperature wise, I prefer the cooler autumn. I’ve never taken to heat well.
In winter, I like seeing the silhouettes of the trees. There’s a beauty in that which is easily overlooked I think. Plus there’s the joy of curling up with a good book when the weather’s rotten outside and you and the dog are just happy to stay indoors for the rest of the day! (You can always tell when the weather is really bad when even the dog is reluctant to go out).
I also enjoy looking out for the first snowdrop appearing, the winter jasmine emerging and so on. Even in the depths of winter, there is life about. Okay a lot of it is dormant but it is still there.
Also without winter, there is no spring. Perhaps that is the easiest season to like given there is so much new life and new growth around. (Mind, hayfever sufferers who are afflicted by tree pollen in particular might have something to say about that).
I like to make the best of each season then (though I like a good grumble about the weather as much as anyone I admit).
Seasons in Life
What about seasons in life then? Do I take the same approach there?
Generally, yes. It is all about making the best of things and improving what you can. There are things I know I can’t change and wish I could. For example, if I could wish up a cure for cancer, dementia etc, I’d do it, as I know we all would. So what can be done there? Support those who are working towards these things as much as you can.
Am I sorry I’m not in the first flush of youth any more? Frankly, no. There are things I would rather not go through again, having experienced them. I engage more with people now (usually via my writing, directly and online) far more than I ever did when I was in my teens/early twenties.
Also, as a writer, now I’m “mature”, (a description generally best saved for a good cheese or fine wine!), I have more experiences of life I can fictionalise if I want to or draw on for use in creating my characters. You have more ideas about what makes people tick and you can use all of that for creating your fictional people with their ways and habits etc.
Using Time Well
I think there is more awareness of the need to use time well the older you get and to disregard what isn’t that important in the overall scheme of things. I’ve never had time for soap operas or political discussion shows. I’ve never understood why people can be so engrossed in them. My lack of understanding or time for these things isn’t going to change any time soon and I have no regrets there.
There are things about getting older that can be awful, obviously, but the general principle of making the most of and appreciating the good things is a sound one. Does that mean we should never seek to improve things? Of course not. (And one major area of change I would wish to see addressed better is the issue of funding proper care for people, especially for those with dementia and their families).
Are Seasons in Life Age Related Anyway?
I would also say seasons in life aren’t necessarily based on age.
There is a season for being a student (but the lovely thing with that one is you can come back to it again later in life). There is a season for developing as a person, whether that means taking up a new hobby which enriches your life and may lead to other things. The nice thing with that one is that development can be slow, fast or continual.
I remain convinced when mankind strives (either individually or collectively) we are at our best. Think of the efforts and achievements in the world of medicine for example. Striving for cures for diseases has to be continual while we should celebrate the good things here that have happened. And all credit to Edward Jenner for his pioneering vaccine work. Someone has to be the pioneer. Given they nearly always take flack for doing this, their persistence should be given credit too.
There is a season to stop and take stock of where you are and assess where you would like to go next. Indeed, this should be a regular one!
I am of the age when my grandparents and their generation took it as read that when you retired, you stopped. I am glad that attitude is generally no longer true. Keeping active, whether it is physically, mentally or both, has to be good for health.
I’m not yet at retirement age but want to have as active a one as possible for as long as possible. (Owning a dog will help a lot there!).
Whatever your current season in life is, I hope it is a positive one!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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