Did you know I am a Grand Poobah at decorating my house for the holidays? I love to adorn my space with joy. Outside however, not so much. Every year my kids beg us to put lights up outside for Christmas, and every year I reach my “I’m done” threshold after transforming the inside our home. The kids get a nice, “Well, maybe next year,” from my husband and I. Thank goodness for my neighbors, who are the Grand Poobahs of outside decorating, as well as in. I get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Autumn, too, gets a nod in my house and you should see the explosion of leaves and color that bedeck my walls and surfaces. And wouldn’t you know, every now and then in autumn, I do get to the outside, as well.
This year I had my lovely sign I made, my wreath, flag, and I bought some beautiful mums that blossomed with color and brought me tons of joy.
Just before Thanksgiving, I was coming up my walkway as I finished up a run and plopped into one of the chairs on the front porch area. Sometimes I like to sit outside when I get home and have a bit more time to be with nature, sit in peace, and connect with what’s around me. That’s not to be confused with when I pull my car into the driveway and sit there for a good ten minutes so I don’t have to go in and start my work.
I sat there and noticed my beautiful mums. Truth be told, it had been over a month since I had gotten them and they just were not as lovely as they once had been. I pondered tossing them in the trash, realizing I would eventually have to do it.
As I looked upon the once vibrant purples and yellows I could see some were now turning brown and others were shriveling up. A few were a combo of both. Yet I simply could not bring my self to throw them away. They were still going, still alive. And though they were not as striking as they had once been, they had a beauty all their own, even if it was in a different way.
I then thought about my own life. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m getting out the violin here for my “woe is me” tale. My intent is not to be melancholy or pessimistic, simply to reflect.
As I’m bringing my 47th year to a close in a couple of months, I have to admit that sometimes the aging process truly sucks. My hips hurt. My lower back hurts sometimes. I need my glasses to read at all times and although I don’t always get it, I need way more sleep than I used to. Start a movie at at 9:30 pm? Girl, what you drinkin’?
And last but not least, the wrinkles and tired eyes have me much less vibrant than I used to be, just like the plants. I think this is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. Looking in the mirror just doesn’t have the same zsuszh as it used to.
Most days, I am aware of how lucky I am to still be on this planet. I know too many people who passed way too soon, and would probably give anything to still be here with a bunch of wrinkles and a couple of aches. But there are days when confidence is hard to come by, and I wish for the youthful look and feeling of times before.
But looking at the flowers, I realized they still had a lot of offer. They continued to serve by bringing me joy and delight, and even though they were not as strong or striking as they had once been, they brought a beauty all their own.
Things shift. Things change. It doesn’t mean that what has transformed is any less valuable or worthy, but just that it brings value and worth in a different way. A new and possibly even exciting way, even if it’s not something that we are necessarily used to, or conditioned to believe as being meaningful and significant.
We all know in our heads that change is the only constant, yet when it happens, it still sometimes rocks our world. I know I will continue to struggle with the aging process, but I also know I will never stop working through it to find true worth, joy, and gratitude.
I love taking lessons from nature around me, this time from my autumn flowers. Maybe this will inspire me to do more outdoor decorating? What can I learn from the twinkling glow of this season? Well, seeing as how I’m once again at my decorating threshold, I’ll just have to bask in the glow of my neighbors’ adornments, and if anything “lights up” for me, I’ll be sure to let you know.