Dealing with the rough side of autumn

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I’m not going to lie: the last few weeks have been rough.

Not like my life-is-in-shamble rough, but still. Rough.

Three weeks ago, the fall semester started, and while that’s always exciting, I felt like I didn’t get the greatest break between summer and fall semester, so there was little, if any, downtime (couple that with being so busy in August). While this fall is very exciting (interesting classes, an amazing internship, a job I love), my schedule is now ten times busier than it was in the spring and summer, and I’m still adjusting. Still adjusting to the 5 am alarms, and no days off during the week (I know…my life is hard).

But still, that means trying to find new routines, new times to work out, new times to do homework. It means mustering up a lot of motivation before braving rush hour traffic after a long day at work, fighting my way into the Metro Detroit suburbs, and then going to roller derby practices on Wednesdays. I’m someone who depends on routines and quiet moments of calm, when everything is done and clean and collected. I’ve had fewer of those moments in recent weeks, and new routines are hard to form. It’s been tough.

Plus, let’s not forget that J was out of town for that first week of school, making an already stressful week lonely and isolating.

I had a few bad days, mixed in with the good and the OK, and I don’t like bad days. They make me cranky. I felt like I was falling behind in the routines I had established over the summer to keep my house clean, and if I feel like my environment isn’t so-so, I can’t focus until it is. I worked on reading in whatever spare moments I had (and I finished A Feast for Crows during this time, so that’s good), but still, just keeping up with reading for school this semester was going to be tough.

Then, last Friday, we had a bad thunderstorm and lost power. For three and a half days. At first, it was OK: J and I had bonfires all weekend and got to enjoy the amazing full moon, because, well, there wasn’t anything else to do. Then, it was Monday, and our neighbors’ generators were getting annoying. Our grill broke. We had to throw away everything in our fridge that didn’t fit in the cooler. The laundry was stacking up. We only took a few, very short showers to save on hot water. There were so many dishes in the dishwasher. And we were annoyed at getting ready with flashlights at 5 am. And not having coffee ready in the kitchen.

We got the power back on Tuesday, but I still felt overwhelmed by all that had to be done. I needed to work on the programs for our next roller derby bout. I had to complete two homework assignments. I needed to watch some online lectures. I needed to shower. I needed to go grocery shopping. I tried to catch up, but then our router broke.

On Wednesday afternoon, my body assessed the situation, saw my mind spiraling into panic, and put on the brakes. On came the migraine, the nausea, the body shakes. No, I didn’t have a fever, but my body convincingly mimicked the symptoms of the flu to put me out of commission for a day and a half.

But you know, I think it was meant to be. I think our bodies know a little more than we give them credit for, sometimes, and making me sick this week was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I was able to sleep for about four or five extra hours, and I finished a daunting homework assignment. I was able to soothe the soul a little bit by baking some banana bread and making homemade granola – you know, the little things I like to have around the house that make everything feel a little bit better, that make life complete. I wrote a to-do list and finished it. I took a lot of ibuprofen, and now that it’s the morning after, I feel a gazillion times better.

Maybe because it’s only going to 64 degrees today, and I’m wearing the first skinny jeans and boots of fall (favorite outfit, ever). Maybe because I have an apple cider pot roast marinating in the fridge. Maybe because we’re going to finish painting our main living spaces this weekend, and I don’t have any homework hanging over my head. Maybe because my birthday is in a little over a week. Maybe because our wedding anniversary is about a week after that.

Maybe a lot of things, but things finally feel good again. It’s going to take some time to adjust to fall, but I think I finally feel ready for the task. You know, this type of panic-sick cycle always comes around in the fall – I think it’s a combo of the change of seasons and life getting busier again. I should just stop kidding myself and build in these personal days for the soul every September. Maybe a few in October as well. We need them. We all need them, even if we feel guilty about calling into work for a headache. Yes, I really was sick yesterday. But my soul was sick too, and that definitely needs some time to heal.

Also helping my Friday: listening to some sweet songs from our wedding. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

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