Autumn is far and away my favourite season of the year. I love the colours, I love the crisp, sunny days when you can feel a hint of the cold weather to come, I even love the wind and the rain. You can’t beat walking in a good storm. I don’t expect anything of Autumn, it is what it is. Spring brings the promise of longer evenings, new growth, blue skies, but as often as not we just get slightly milder rain. Summer? The less said about summer in the west the better. Winter is long and cold, and fairly often disappoints by not bringing snow, just colder rain and never ending, bone aching damp.
But Autumn? Autumn just is. I know the evenings are going to draw in, and it’s likely going to rain a lot. I don’t expect it to get hot and sunny, or properly cold and snowy. I expect the leaves to turn and fall off the trees, the garden to start looking a bit tired, the rain to turn cooler. I don’t fight with Autumn. I don’t get angry that she isn’t bringing heat or snow. I don’t have any expectations of her that will more than likely lead to disappointment, I know what she will bring, but I also know she has the capacity to produce some absolutely stunning, picture perfect days in the middle of all this. They’ll be rare enough, but my god will they be wonderful.
This is another left of centre analogy, it’s right up there with the oak tree but it makes sense in my head so I hope you can see the sense of it too. We have such high expectations – of ourselves, of other people, of life…….and we’re constantly disappointed because those expectations are often unrealistic. It is completely unrealistic to expect a white winter in the west of Ireland, or a summer filled with sunshine and heat. It would be lovely if either of those things happened, of course it would. But it’s not a realistic expectation, and to hold to it will lead to disappointment.
Now look at the expectations we have of ourselves and those around us, the standards we hold ourselves to, and the level of frustration that ensues when we can’t meet those standards. Wouldn’t it be so lovely if we could drop those standards, even for a little while, just to see what it feels like? If we could stop fighting with ourselves and each other, accept what we are and are able for, and stop pushing for something that isn’t possible?
I’m not saying that we need to give up, that it’s always going to rain and that’s it. But maybe if we started looking at things a little differently…….see ourselves warts and all, and accept ourselves, each other, warts and all. Stop fighting. Stop struggling. Throw on a rain coat, walk in the rain, then come home and indulge in a sit in front of the fire. Work with what we’ve got rather than what we want, or even better, enjoy what we’ve got rather than wasting energy focusing on what we don’t. It’s far more enjoyable to walk in the rain than sit at home fuming because we can’t persuade the weather to make snow.
(Sorry if I lost you completely. I’m feeling very philosophical today)