“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall” (Oscar Wilde).
September flew by in the blink of an eye. Like magic, October painted bands of white clouds in the cerulean sky, October dipped the leaves of the trees in shades of magenta, red, and gold, and October made the soft wind crisp and cold. Throughout the day the scent of tobacco + patchouli candles fills my bedroom as I listen to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, The Moody Blues, and David Bowie and October evenings aren’t complete without watching a Halloween flick accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate loaded with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
In retrospect, this past week has been so radically different than this exact time last year. I am exactly where I want to be, with the people who I truly and wholeheartedly want to be with. Last year I craved nothing more than an October spent at home surrounded by candlelight, cozy knit blankets, pillow forts, painting, and movie nights with people I love. In exchange for relinquishing those desires I spent this week last year exploring Morro Bay, visiting LACMA, and wandering through Santa Barbara trying to find home in an unfamiliar city.
There’s a strange sense of nostalgia that fills every October. The leaves only just begin to depart from the branches of trees, the sun sets earlier, the moon seems to shine a brighter yellow hue...it’s a month that begs you to be reflective. This October I am making a conscious effort to spend time being introspective and feeling gratitude for not only where I am but also who I am this year versus last.
“She rules her life like a bird in flight” (Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac).
October is somewhat of an in between time. It’s not quite the most autumnal of the months, but it’s surely not summer anymore either. I can still bravely jump into the cool water of the pool, but I can also take pleasure in hot bubble baths. In October you can still walk around at night, and although the air is fresh and chilly, it feels good to face the cold without a jacket. There’s a twinge of excitement in the air for the holiday season to get rolling...Halloween has a way of snowballing into Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s...2018...October is only the beginning of the end.
“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves” (Joe L. Wheeler).
Endings are interesting especially in regards to time. October is the tenth month of the year but the closer you get to the end, the closer you are to the beginning of the next.
There are endings that are beginnings to our own identities too. For me, the ending to my academic career presented a major beginning for me to uncover aspects of myself and learn to accept my individuality. This process has been going on for the past several months. Without the weight of being anyone besides myself I’ve discovered validation in areas of my life I never had. I was discussing this week how throughout middle school, high school, college...I was always “the artist.” At the time, I accepted that meant I liked to paint and take photos but I didn’t own the nonconformist aspect of my identity. A major piece of me still struggled to fit in or relate to people who were very different than me. I love that I have my own way of seeing the world. I love that I process things differently than your average sheep in the herd. I spent time in college feeling like the black sheep. I felt out of place, jaded, and full of a sense of disillusionment as I questioned everything.
Last fall was a time of extremes...sadness, spontaneity, and an effort to conform consumed me. There were days where I’d go sit in the library and listen to “How To Be A Human Being” by Glass Animals all the way through with headphones in trying not to cry while staring out the window at that ocean, the same Pacific ocean that bordered my home, wishing I could jump in and drift back down the coast. Last year stands out as such a random time in my life full of a lot of different emotions but mostly this weird numbness and detachment from myself and the world around me. This time last year was such a misguided detour from who I am and who I want to be. Time moved in a different way then.
I was talking to several friends this week about how with every year, as your brain develops, you trick yourself into thinking you know “everything.” Yet, you get a year older, grow an inch taller, and suddenly you realize you knew absolutely nothing. At every age I think I have a handle on how the world works, I think I have insight, I think I’ve gained a deeper understanding. But, as humans, learning continues regardless of age...we have this innate curiosity to satisfy. I think coming to terms with the fact that you can never truly know “everything” is fascinating. Time twists understanding, things that make sense in the moment often seem wildly foolish with hindsight and vice versa. Every action we experience, every choice we make, has some impact on our lives. Some consequences can be anticipated, but often times we never truly realize how our decisions affect our lives.
“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being” (Albert Camus).
The Butterfly Effect proposes that small, seemingly insignificant actions (like a butterfly flapping it’s wings), have a larger impact or can lead to large differences in a deterministic nonlinear system. In our own lives this can mean that something as simple as what you choose to eat for breakfast can have some larger impact on your day or life. Each unmade decision creates potential for infinite possibilities. With no plausible way to determine the course of your entire life, it’s irrational to put too much weight on the small stuff, however, it’s intriguing to consider what a major role it plays in influencing your individuality and overall identity.
“You will evolve past certain people. Let yourself” (Mandy Hale).
Sometimes it’s hard to think about the fact that everyone else is going through the motions too. We’re all making these infinitesimal decisions every second: what to text that person back, what to eat for lunch, to go out or stay in. There’s this whole invisible network of cause and effect. Simultaneously, we’re all changing and growing and aging. We’re all autonomous sentient beings connected by some unseen subconscious force if the universe floating in a galaxy surrounded by stardust and magic and mystic. And we get 100 October’s to figure things out.