This fall, as I mentioned recently, has been more than a little hectic. Lots of demands at work and at home, plus two wonderful trips – one to NYC and one to Texas for a college reunion – have left me feeling frazzled.
I’ve done some highly cathartic venting to a few friends, but one of them reminded me the other day that it’s also helpful to focus on the good. And there is so much good, even while things are crazy. So here, a list of what’s saving my life this fall:
- Early-morning writing sessions in one of the libraries on campus. If I wake up on time and catch the early bus, I often have 15 or 20 minutes to curl up in an armchair and scribble in my journal, or stare out the window. I like the quiet company of students (though occasionally someone is snoring!), and watching the leaves change through the windows. And writing is so good for my soul.
- Walking through the Yard, or anywhere in Harvard Square, and marveling at the changing leaves. My three favorite red maples, the harbingers, are all but bare now, and the yellow leaves are out in full force. I’m stunned by the colors every year.
- The weekday Morning Prayers service on campus, which this semester is meeting in Holden Chapel, is full of good words and gorgeous music. I’ve been making it over there most mornings, and I love listening to the choir, hearing speakers from around campus, and sight-reading unfamiliar but lovely hymns.
- Darwin’s, about which I have talked often here, continues to save my life at least twice a day. The chai, the cookies, the warm sunset walls, the sandwiches and soup, and most of all, the friendly chitchat with my people. It is my place and I am so grateful.
- My Thursday writers’ meetings up on the sixth floor, which are hilarious, sarcastic and always informative. (And which also involve some of my people.)
- Jen Lee’s posts about her new project, which have given me so many good words on the price of courage and being enough.
- Debriefing the days with my husband, whenever and however we can.
- A few stalwart friendships, local and far-flung, which provide wisdom, joy and so much love.
- My fall uniform: striped dress, black leggings and ankle boots, bright scarf, fingerless gloves, my favorite green coat. (See also: not overthinking it.)
- Antacid pills and lots of water. Boring but true.
- The Hamilton soundtrack, which has a line for every situation.
- My colleagues, who are smart, funny and caring, and who make the craziness much more bearable.
- Seeing so many people get excited about voting (though I am so ready for this election to be over).
- Good books. I’m not reading at my usual pace or volume right now, but I recently loved Beneath Wandering Stars, A Word for Love and Books for Living.
- This mantra from a colleague: “Never deny a positive impulse.” I love that.
What’s saving your life this fall? I’d really like to know.