I do like this time of year. Even today, when it has rained all through the hours and I have been confined to home doing mostly writing and reading and thinking about lighting the woodburner. It has been a cosy day, a gentle day, a day for pottering around and laughing with one's hubby about silly things that have happened this week.
It is the time of year, for me anyway, because for most of my adult life my time has been governed by the school year calender, to have a good old clear out. A clear out not only of one's physical space (I have even purged the cupboard under the stairs, also known as the Black Hole, and you could fit a whole sheep under there now!), but of personal clutter, too.
And by personal clutter, I mean stuff that is bothering your mind and heart and spirit. It is the time of year for getting rid of the old, stale and destructive and introducing the new, fresh and vibrant. For developing new habits, investing in what is worthwhile and dumping what is draining your energy and holding you back.
Riding on a roundabout is okay in the short-term, even fun, a bit of a laugh. But you can't go round in circles all your life, not without at best growing bored at seeing the same old things happening over and over again or at worst, feeling nauseous, falling off and watching from the ground as everyone else charges on with their lives without you.
So I have set myself some writing aims for the coming year, made an Amazon wish list of books I am going to read. I have enrolled on a creative embroidery course and am kicking off my concentrated 'Go Sew!' skills development programme (ooo-err!) by visiting my good chum, Jane, on Thursday for a sewing day. (And my lovely girl, Heather, has followed my lead - or so she says! - and booked up to do an Introduction to Floristry course so I shall be spending another day this week with a florist friend who says I can help her sort out some stock from her garage for Heather to borrow.) I have sorted out my CV, designed some business cards, purchased a second mobile phone specifically for business use. I have even deleted Majong Titans and Patience from my computer!! Now there is dedication to a more purposeful spending of time for you!
I have found a piano teacher. I have picked up my walking habit again, now that my heel injury has repaired itself. A list of favourite songs is on my desk ready to be burned onto a CD for the bopping around the kitchen to thereof. Embryonic plans have been set in pregnant motion for my 50th birthday celebration next year.
This week I have experimented with THREE (count 'em!) new vegetarian recipes. And whilst I am on the 'V' subject I shall take another brief opportunity to be 'holier than cow' and state that I am vegetarian and NOT vegan, as there seems to have been some confusion this week from some quarters about the difference between the two. I am, sadly, fully aware that most male chicks are macerated soon after hatching because they are of no use to the egg industry, and that cows have to give birth to calves in order to produce milk (and thus butter, cheese and yogurt) and that most male calves are killed immediately after birth because their service to the dairy industry is no longer required. And that most of the male calves that are kept alive have very short lives as they become crop for the veal industry before they are a year old.
And as a result of my personal research over five years ago, and informed decision about what food I put into my body and why, I am NOT a vegan. I just don't eat dead animals. And the hens who have provided my eggs for the last 6 years have been well cared for and happy and safe from predator attack, free-range hens.
I have also reviewed a year of not growing vegetables after 6 years of running an allotment. Have I missed it? A bit, because it reminded me of the happy years I spent as a child growing up on a market garden farm, but conversely not much, because the year has been very busy work-wise. And in hindsight I am glad we didn't run an allotment this year because I think growing your own fruit and veg effectively requires a full time commitment and is something I would rather do properly than go about half cocked and end up doing little more than keeping the weeds at bay.
Actually, we haven't not grown anything this year. The herbs have done very well and we are just about to get the apples off the tree. And, of course, we are hives full of bees again which was a nice surprise. The gardens have looked very smart and full of colour this year. They have made me smile - a lot!
Oh yes, it has been a very thought provoking and empowering few days. I am very much looking forward to going back to work next week. One of my favourite musicals is 'La Cage Aux Folles.' Do you know it? I was fortunate enough to see it in London a few years ago with John Barrowman in the lead role. And in the words of my favourite song from 'La Cage' I do believe, 'The Best Of Times Is Now.'
Happy Autumn, Everyone! May you, like the trees, shed all that is now useless to you, and foster the fresh new growth of the life you want from today.