I have always been my happiest during the fall months. I love crisp, cool air and changing leaves. I love spending time outside and curling up inside with a book and a cup of coffee. I love going back to school and fresh starts and new opportunities and the beginning of the holiday season. Everything just seems a little bit more magical in the fall.
But since I’ve been in college, I’ve felt a new anxiety during the autumn months. I often feel as though I’m wasting my favorite season and not taking advantage of the weather and the magic. There’s simply not enough time to balance two jobs, a full load of classes, extracurricular activities and freelance work, maintaining a social life and taking advantage of the season. There just isn’t enough time to run back to New Jersey to visit my favorite apple orchard, plan the perfect Halloween costumes for my boyfriend and I and carve the perfect pumpkins. (Don’t even get me started on how my Halloween party planning is going.)
Between school and work and stressing over fall, I was starting to feel burnt out. So on Saturday, with a stoke of luck that a friend had off from work, my favorite boys and I piled into the truck and went hiking at High Rocks Vista at Ralph Stover State Park.
I had been having a rough week, but the moment we got into the truck and turned on the indie music, I felt myself relax for the first time in weeks. Getting out of the city is so often the best way for me to clear my head.
Even though it was drizzling, we hiked around the park on rocks overlooking the creek and then hiked down along the rocks in the water and talked about future travel plans and stories from the week and everything in between. We got lost in the woods and watched a baby deer rustling through the leaves. Finally when it started raining a little more heavily, we walked back to the car and went to visit my boyfriend’s parents (and dog!) in the town over.
We finally went back to the city feeling refreshed and happy, if a bit cold. And my fall anxieties were reduced at least a little bit (although I’m still itching to get out to a pumpkin patch). I was reminded this weekend that although my work and school schedules are at time overwhelming and can easily burn me out, I’m surrounded by the best people who will always be up to get out of the city with me.
This fall, I’m working hard, but I’m not losing sight of the most important parts of my life: the people who help me get away from everything.