November 1st is a day that, growing up, came and went like any other. Sure, it was the beginning of a new month, but to me, it was simply a day closer to the weekend, or more importantly, a day closer to Christmas. This year, however, as I awoke on November 1st foggy-eyed and still quite exhausted from the Halloween festivities that took place previous night, I felt a tightening in my chest as I realized that another October had gone. With it was a piece of something I had been holding on to for a very long time.
October has been my favorite of the twelve months for as long as I can remember. The air, crisp and clean with just a touch of wood smoke from a nearby chimney or bonfire; the wind (on a good day) is comfortably blustery. The leaves are lovely and ever-changing, and under an overcast sky, their vibrancy is almost unnatural. When it rains, its cold, but not unbearably so, and leaves of every color crunch beneath your feet. Not to mention the festivities that October brings. From fall festivals, to pumpkin patches,to Halloween specials on T.V., to haunted houses and hay rides; from childhood on, these are the things I have lived for, and for some reason, this year, I felt like missed out on it all.
Now, at nineteen years old, the responsibilities of being an “almost adult” as I like to call it, have prevented me from continuing these traditions – traditions that have brought be joy since I was big enough to pick my own pumpkin. But then, I had a thought: perhaps my overwhelming sense of nostalgia has caused me to lose sight of the precious present I am living in.
Of course, I would have loved more than anything to make it through Hocus Pocus once without falling asleep, to carve a pumpkin, to binge eat Halloween candy without the slightest worry of the amount of calories I was ingesting, or to get scared out of my mind walking through Hotel of Terror. Sadly, however, it just didn’t happen for me this year.
That doesn’t mean it never will.
I am starting to come to terms with the fact that growing up means that I must let go of some old traditions in order to make room for new ones. This year, October was terribly busy. I spent a lot of my time just trying to maintain my sanity after midterm grades were released. Despite this, I am thankful for the things I experienced this October, that may become some of my new favorite things for years to come. I’m thankful for long walks around Drury’s beautiful campus, and to be able to witness a change in the leaves daily. I’m thankful for pumpkin waffles from Gailey’s and pumpkin pie concretes from Andy’s, (because I had an abundance of both). I’m thankful for Saturday morning trips to the Farmer’s Market, and for my friends who I somehow convinced to dress up like hot dogs with me for Halloween. This is the presence I’m talking about; living every day not regretting the things you weren’t able to do, but instead, rejoicing the things you did.
Ally Condie, author of the book Matched, explained it like this: “It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.” I find this more relatable every day. As I get older, I hold desperately to the things that keep me young. However, I now realize that I must embrace the change, and not necessarily forget the memories that I love dearly, but work fervently towards being more present, and falling in love with the way things are now – looking eagerly ahead to the memories I have yet to make.