So I FINALLY made the trip “across the pond” to the UK and am getting ready to start a new semester! I can’t believe I am actually in England right now as I write this, it still doesn’t seem real. Can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for me in the next few months!
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. When the air changes and the leaves turn stunning shades of red and orange and yellow and they mix with the always-constant evergreens to produce one of the most beautiful sites in the world. Those days when the sun is still hot but the air is cool and crisp and there is just a slight breeze to rustle the leaves and blow hair in your face. Those days that just feel like soccer and fresh apples and carrying backpacks.
Fall means deep blue skies and bright, slanted sun and sweet smelling hay. Fall means back to school shopping and new sweaters and schoolbooks. Fall means lying on the quad on the fresh, cool grass watching soccer games with good friends. Fall means country fairs and fried food. Fall means hot apple cider and apple cider donuts and hay rides. Fall means leaves turning and changing and falling. Fall means warm days and cool nights, hot drinks and snuggly blankets. Fall means forcing your brain to work again. Fall means enjoying the company of those you love. Fall means a new chapter in life.
Fall is like an apple picked right from the tree – crisp and sweet and juicy. There is nothing that can compare to this amazing season and all it has to offer: all the joys and changes and new beginnings. I don’t know what fall is like in other places, but I guarantee it doesn’t compare to fall in New England, because honestly, nothing can.
This summer was a lot of things, but more than anything it was surprising. I had gone into the summer expecting it to go one way but it turned out to be completely different. While it may not have been exactly what I had hoped for, the summer I ended up with was kind of amazing. Being in southern California of course was cool. I got to kayak with sea lions, snorkel with leopard sharks, take countless beach trips, visit the zoo, the desert, and Disneyland, and work at an awesome internship. All of that in itself would be enough to make for a great summer, but the reason this summer was so special was because I ended up growing in many unexpected ways. I finally learned to leave behind caterpillar life and shed my cocoon in order to take on life as a butterfly.
I ended up with a lot of time alone this summer, which, as a strong extrovert, was not exactly my idea of fun. I had expected to be hanging out with my cousins and making friends the whole time, but instead I found myself consistently alone with nothing to do. I realized early in the summer that there were going to be many times where if I wanted to do something, I was going to have to figure it out and do it by myself. I don’t like being alone to begin with, but more than that I hate trying new experiences on my own. I am often not comfortable doing new things without another person with me because it makes me feel alone and vulnerable. I much prefer to have someone alongside me because then if I fail, I have someone there to work through the problem with, and it’s not just me standing alone looking like an idiot.
This summer I didn’t have anyone there to help me. I had a whole new world waiting for me to jump in, but no one there to push me off the ledge. I was faced with the choice of learning to do it on my own, or just sitting by myself while the world enjoyed summer without me. So I chose to be brave, knowing that I was never really alone and I still had God beside me every step of the way. From things as small as going to the grocery store or mailing a package, to navigating my way to the beach for an afternoon, I really pushed myself to be independent so I didn’t have to miss out on all that was around me. I forced myself out of my comfortable cocoon in order to take part in the world.
As it turns out, I’m ok alone. I may not enjoy it all the time and I still would rather be with people, but I was able to survive independent life and actually have some good times.
It’s amazing what this summer taught me and the timing in which the lesson came. As I prepare to venture off to Europe, I am more ready to take on this new adventure alone than I ever would have been before this summer. I know that I am ok on my own and I can survive, and even thrive, just fine without other people constantly by my side. I have finally left by cocoon behind and am now more ready than ever to take on the world as I learn to fly, knowing that God will always be the wind beneath my wings.