© Aron Hsiao / 2007
I’ve always been a fall and winter person. Inside and out, without compromise. Over the course of my entire life I’ve looked forward to fall and winter every year during spring and summer, with anticipation building to a crescendo sometime in August.
Not this year.
I’m more than a bit bewildered. I’m caught between equal parts reverence for the coming seasons, apathy about the passage of time, and worry about the unknown. Last fall was too much a fragmentary blur for me to remember almost anything about it. It came and went and was the farthest thing from my mind.
Now I will likely have some time and space to live. But what does it mean? What does fall look like in my life anymore? What is its meaning? I haven’t been a student for a very long time, and I’m no longer a teacher, either. It’s no longer the season of beginnings and opportunities. With my family fractured, it’s also not “family” season or “home and hearth” season any longer, especially with the kids now of school age.
I am beginning to understand that I have a long road ahead to return to the life that I want. It will take years that I don’t really want to have, but have no choice but to have.
But in the meantime, I’m unsure. I’m apprehensive. I still have a soft place in my heart for fall and winter, but I also feel as though this is not a year in which I’m going to be able to enjoy them properly.
I can hear the peanut gallery yelling, “live in the moment!” already.
That’s why they can’t afford the good seats, frankly. Facebook wisdom is one thing that I know I won’t have to cope with this fall, as my Facebook use has dwindled essentially to nothing.
I see a lot of professional work and a lot of book reading ahead of me as the days get shorter.
— § —
I look back at photos of us and I don’t recognize anything that’s happened since about 2010. It’s like we used to be completely different people.
What happens to those people over time?
How is it possible that people change so much, and so entirely? And yet this is what everyone does.
There is a bit of conventional wisdom that says that “no one ever really changes,” or that “a tiger doesn’t change it’s stripes.”
What utter bullshit. All it takes is a decade to turn a person into an entirely different person, with different preferences, different habits, different dreams, a different personality, and a different appearance.
In fact, the opposite is true. No one ever really stays the same. A tiger can’t keep its stripes.
The incredible ephemerality of people—of people all around you, including those closest to you—is one of the strange, wonderful, and tragic mysteries of human life.