Fall, Back?

The weather in South Florida is finally starting to cool off. The stagnant heat of the summer has gone, and in its place is a cool breeze to offset the warm day, beautiful clear skies, and lower humidity. It’s awesome (though it would be even more awesome if the temperature dropped just a bit more. Our highs are still between 75 and 85 degrees.

But what I really love is that the cooler temperatures mean the start of the holiday season.  We start decorating with fall in mind since September. We bring out pumpkins, scarecrows, cinnamon sticks and our home is decked out in harvest decor. For Halloween, we stick to the “cutesy” decorations– having a four-year-old really makes me want to stay away from any gore and brains and zombies. While I might love my vampires, I don’t plan on exposing my son to these just yet. And I certainly don’t want nightmares and interrupted sleep (from him).

We had the time change two weekends ago, right after Halloween, and while I normally grumble about dusk coming earlier, I’ve actually been enjoying starting the day a bit earlier. It means we’ve been on time to school and work! My son is going to bed slightly earlier, and I’ve had some more quiet time at night. And in the mornings, we’re up by 6:30, which gives us enough time to handle the morning tasks without falling behind.

This semester has gone by faster than previous ones. It’s bittersweet because I have some great students, and I’m going to miss the classroom interactions after the term is over. I always hope students keep in touch because something that makes me love my job as a teacher is seeing them move on, seeing them graduate, get jobs–succeed. It makes me proud.

I’ve also been, in some ways, more stable (health-wise). I think I’ve learned to listen (for the most part) to my body and I rest when I need to. The medicines and extra vitamins have helped, too, and so I’ve been able to get part of my life back. But my body keeps me in check. Just when I start getting too comfortable with a certain routine, it reminds me I need to take it easy. This has been a day-by-day process, but I’m relieved I am feeling better than I was this time last year. The only hiccup now is that I have gallstones (eeek!), which explains some stomach-related issues, so now I wait for my follow-up with the gastroenterologist. Gotta keep things interesting, right?

On the writing front, I’ve been on an adrenaline rush because I’m ecstatic that I’ve been able to keep up. I had my doubts, what with the stress of the semester, but I’m almost done for this term! And I’m going places with my project that I had only hoped. It’s really let me appreciate the creative process when it comes to longer projects. My characters surprise me each day, and the satisfaction I feel when I finish writing the scenes, even if they’re not perfect or I might not keep them, is overwhelming. I am making progress. It’s taking shape. I understand why this process is likened to giving birth: because after you’re done, you feel like you’ve created life, with blood, sweat and tears (clichés, anyone?). You are given the role of creator, and once you’ve created, you follow your characters as their story becomes clear through writing and rewriting. It’s beautiful. And painful. And frustrating (especially when you go from the euphoria of a particularly smooth scene to the agony of trying to write during a block).

I wouldn’t change this for the world.

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