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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"It's That Time of the Year Again": Recognizing Emotionally Important Seasons

Every fall, I'm like "Oh, I LOVE FALL!!" I love the leaf mess, the last bonfire wisps, and the hint of chill that allows me to sleep with the window open. But, every spring, I'm like "I love Spring SO MUCH!" I can never quite wait to get into the garden or to will the perennials to poke their heads through some dirty snow. Summer and winter...sorry, I'm not so in love with you, although I definitely like you a lot.

I've noticed another time of year that gives me feelings, though. It's mid-August to mid-September. In Minnesota, it's that no-person's time between summer and fall, so I don't necessarily have a socially coherent smell or sight to associate with it. Instead, I have the memories of leaving, moving, starting new, changing, comforting, struggling, coping, failing, hoping, and wishing things were different at the same time I was wishing them to be better.

Those memories are tied to a few other things besides time of year, too. There are Daughtry songs that still, eight years later, cause me to tear up or get pissed. There are Evanescence songs that still pour strength into me and remind me of how much emotional landscape I've crossed. There are certain events, like the first day of school, that I had to learn to share differently. Then there's my daughter's birthday, the first one I ever had to navigate as a separated person.

I'm assuming that other people have these times, too. I assume there are times that remind us of when someone was born, when someone else died, or when something amazing or tragic happened in our lives. So I'm wondering, how do you head into those times of the year? Do you dread them? Do you take time to acknowledge what you're experiencing so many years later? Has it even been years or is it still fresh and palpable?

For a few years, I was definitely in the dread camp. I wanted to enjoy that summer-fall conjunction, but just couldn't quite get there. It was fraught with re-experiences of anger and sadness and fear. Inevitably, I'd hear the song September and all the old stuff would wash over me.

Over time, though, I've learned to sit with the feelings when they come. I tell them I see them, that I can honor where they've been. I also try to make new memories that hopefully, over time, can provide a new resonance and perspective.

How do you experience residual feelings that are tied to events in your life? Definitely share the good ones, but also know that it's okay to share the not-as-good-to-downright-awful-ones, too.

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