Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Welcome Autumn

 With the change in weather from less Face of The Sun days and cooler evenings and mornings and that inevitable change of the angle of light, even I am forced to admit that Autumn may have finally arrived.

With Autumn - and October - comes the sprint to the end of the year.  I say "sprint" because that is what the last quarter of the year seems to have become over time.

Commercially, we have now entered the season of Halloween/Dios de las Muertas/Thanskgiving/Pre-Christmas/Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year's Eve.  If that looks like a run-on listing, it is because that is exactly what it has become:  more and more, it seems that websites and stores just "get it all out there" at once. I am sure this simplifies their advertising lives and they can just roll the unused stock back into the warehouse for next year as needed ("Giant Inflatable Pumpkins?  Done.  Giant Inflatable Turkeys?  Done.   Giant Inflatable Godzilla and King Kong with a Christmas Tree?  Hold on, two more weeks to run on those").  

I suppose as a plus, I can now secure Mallow Pumpkins, multi-colored Candy Corn, and Christmas Mints all at one go.  And Eggnog is now a drink available for almost half the year.

For work, I can remember a time within the last ten years where the rhythm of work was a lovely sigmodal S curve the gracefully descended into the Christmas Break, a sort of wind down after a year of activity, allowing employees to enter the holiday with almost a sense of the holiday.  Again, no more:  work is now a red-lined activity that would make my high school friend's 1969 Ford Mach 1 green with envy as those horsepower's are pushed way up to and over the 350 HP line, a constant driving stream of activity.  Conveniently goals are also tied to completion right before the end of the year, so that employees can not just greet the break with Joy, they can collapse into a heap and pretend to pack holiday celebrations into the 1.5 days before the holiday actually occurs.

For me - as kind of a change up from my usual "Stumbling on through the list of things to do", I am making a choice to carefully choose what I want to accomplish, acknowledging 1) The Work Schedule as listed above; and 2) the fact that it is a holiday season, and I would like to celebrate something.

For "Things I want to do", that list has become pretty focused.  This blog, of course (because, frankly, therapy is expensive and blogging is free).  The Winter Garden - which to be fair, is four to five hours of hard work, followed by maintenance.  Keeping with my nascent language skills, one for Iai (Japanese) and one for the upcoming 2023 trip (Greek).  Specific projects for the time off (I have my shirt pattern from Folk Wear; sewing over Thanksgiving, and cheese of course).  Regular training, gym and Iai.  Attending to the house and vehicle related chores I having been putting off because, well, they are not novel and therefore not "interesting".  Tying up loose ends for TB The Elder and getting The Ranch ready for Winter.

It is not a glamourous list of course, and I have never tried something this focused before - it means putting a great many "boy, I should do that" on the shelf, at least until the New Year rolls around.  That is not really a natural reaction for me.

But this year, for some reason I feel I need the focus.  Autumn and the entry of Winter and the holidays (and we have a splendid lot during this season, including the somewhat forgotten and Veteran's Day) should be something to be enjoyed and celebrated, not something to be rushed through because of the World and Work.  And if they are not going to slow down - and they are not - then I consciously have to.


  1. Another interesting post from TB. My problem with Halloween/Dios de las Muertas/Thanskgiving/Pre-Christmas/Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year's Eve (besides their commercial corniness) is that being jumbled together offers no sense of season. It starts so early that it loses its sense of "Thanksgiving season" or "Christmas season." Now, I take my cues from the weather and what plant life is doing. I reflect back to when I was a child, and recall my sense of holiday seasons were connected to annual experiences and traditional foods. Our culture seems to have shoved all that aside nowadays.

    Your to-do list sounds ambitious but very doable. We humans need focus no matter what season it is. A change of season is a good time to evaluate and update those lists.

    1. Leigh, you touch on two very good points. The first is that we lose our sense of seasonality. I wonder if part of that is that we no longer tie our holidays to things like specific religious events or other major events (like harvest, for example). Once upon a time, there a structure to such things, almost a sense of bearing down on a single set of days or period of times to fully celebrate the holiday. Now - perhaps because there is nothing tying us to that day and the fact that we have become so much more busy overall in the world - we extend the length of time in order to somehow still get a sense of "the season" because we can no longer actual spend it in "the season".

      I am trying to restructure my life a bit to hopefully more fully reach the traditional monastic structure of 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of living. This focusing is part of that trial.

  2. I have a DVR and rarely watch any live television. I don't often go shopping in big box stores that do a lot of decorating. In fact, I actively avoid going to those sorts of places in the last two months of the year. Thus, I have largely been able to tune out the holiday madness that goes on around me.

    I am also not a big maker of lists. I don't like to be held to a list and it is much easier to bump things back, or bump things up if there isn't a list I have to edit. I do have a mental list of things I would like to get done but never do I attach a firm date. I prefer to wake up and focus on what I want to get accomplished today.

  3. Anonymous8:47 AM

    Routine chores can be a PIA, or a meditation, by meditation, I mean not something that is thought about, or concentrated on, just something one does, on auto pilot, as economically of effort as possible. Don't force it, glide through it.
    Ever lose track of space or time when driving a long way over a familiar road? Like that, sort of.
    I have noticed looking at the non routine chores, the "I should fix-paint-replace that, that seem to lurk around every corner, that they often take far less time to do, than to agonize over. The problem being one gets tired, and jobs like this end up being done reluctantly, cutting into "free time", or just being done when tired.
    One aid is to try to have the materials to hand, so when the mood strikes, it is easy to get right to work, rather than to spend time running around stores looking for that essential tool or material.

    tangentially related-
    Years ago I read with some interest a shop manual for rebuilding a Honda 350. Page after page of getting valve clearances correct and how to shim the transmission, etc etc. It was all translated by a english speaking Japanese. On the very last page, alone on field of white ,was this statement.
    "Now Do It".

    1. This is my experience as well: Things take far longer in my head than they actually do to complete most of the time. I find if I will prioritize them and get them done when I think about them rather than delaying them, I am often surprised at how quickly they will actually go.

      I do the "having the things on hand as well". It makes for less excuse about why I am not "getting it done".

      I do like the story about the manual. That sounds very much like a Japanese translation.

  4. I've had way too much down time recovering from recent hand surgery. Rather than cave to discouragement over all I cannot do right now, I have started a list of things I notice that I want to tackle once I'm more fully functioning. Now... we'll see if I have the motivation to do even half the things once I get full use of my hand back. The important thing is my time is spent more hopeful than discouraged right now.

    1. Becki, if nothing else making a list gives you something to take your mind off of your hand. At least for me, it also helps me organize my thoughts, which is always half the battle.


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