Fall has always been my favorite season because I love the cooler temperatures, getting back into a more structured routine, and preparing for the holiday season ahead. With the change of each season comes a new way of approaching our days. There’s a slowness in fall that feels good to me. It’s the time of year when we naturally start to slow down, as the days become shorter, and the nights become a little longer. Personally, I find myself doing less and less in the evenings and going to bed earlier than I do in the summer.
As we see the trees let go of their leaves, fall can also be a time of personal reflection. We can take a lesson from nature on how to release and let go.
This year, in the transition from summer to fall, I had to move house due to circumstances outside my control. To make a long story short, my neighbors were getting louder and louder, and my landlord lives out of state, so the noise just kept on coming. As someone who works from home, it’s super important to have a quiet and reliable space to work. The noise issues were unexpected, and although I loved my home, I had no choice but to let go and look for something new. Instead of panicking, I tried to take a cue from Mother Nature and let go of my need to control the situation. And luckily, I found a new place to live.
As I prepared for my move, I took advantage of the opportunity to really do a deep purge in my life. Not only of all my things, but of any mental clutter I was carrying around too.
Lots of things started coming to the surface for me during this transition. I learned that I have to end the comparison game. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing myself to others, especially as a 30-something woman whose peers are all buying homes, while I’m hunting for another rental apartment. I had to let go of the apartment I thought would be my home for the next few years, even though I didn’t really want to. I had to remember that not all trees shed leaves at the same time and that I’m actually more than totally okay with where I’m at. I know being on my own and renting a new place is the right fit for me because I don’t want the responsibility and commitment that comes along with home ownership at this point in my life. My sudden move taught me to accept the timing of what’s happening in my life—and I’m happy where I’m at!
This fall, I encourage you to try a few things to help you let go of what might be ready to fall away from your life. I did these (mainly because I was forced to due to my move), and it felt really, really good:
1. Go through your belongings and give away whatever you aren’t using. If it’s not being used and it doesn’t make you happy, pass it along or recycle it. Clearing out the clutter feels so good because it opens up more space and feels like you’re letting go of dead weight. Some things I passed along: curtains I hadn’t used in five years, books I didn’t actually enjoy, clothing that had seen better days, and a juicer I no longer used.
2. Sit with yourself and write down the answers to these questions: What did I accomplish this year that I’m so proud of? What do I want to say goodbye to? What do I still want to complete before the year is over? For me, the answers were surprisingly insightful and helped me feel grateful for everything that changed in my life since January, from moving to a new place to growing my career to working on my passion projects. And it also helped me realize how great I feel about letting go of not only the things I’m not using anymore, but the relationships that weren’t exactly serving me either. Taking stock like this really helped me realize that letting go makes room for the new to come in.
The main thing I learned is to let fall away what has to fall away in your life (even the things you might want to cling to). I paid attention to what lights me up and what makes me feel good—and also what was draining, stressing me out, and causing me to feel super frustrated. The things that caused me tension were the things I needed to let fall away.
Part of the season of letting go is preparing for something new to come later. Opening up space lets whatever wants to come next come in. If I were to cling to the apartment I was living in because I really liked it, I would have just grown more and more annoyed by the noisy neighbors. I’m glad I embraced the change, as opposed to fighting it. Because I was willing to let go and move on, I ended up finding somewhere even better to live. That’s really what fall is all about, in my eyes. It’s letting go of what’s completed in our lives—and preparing for what’s even better to come next.
Originally published October 9, 2018