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Leaning In: How I’m Handling the Changing Season

On the Saturday before we were to turn our clocks back, it was 74 degrees Fahreinheit in New York City. It hardly felt like fall, but I knew in just 24 hours, we’d be experiencing the autumnal harbingers of 4:30 sunsets and rampart seasonal depression. Back in January, when I was planning out my year of blog posts (or, at least mapping out some important dates), I put a note for this week: “Daylight saving time… fall back… an extra hour?”


As I worked through October writing, edging closer to today, I added a couple extra notes: “changing seasons can be tough.”


Ultimately, I decided I’d have to skip this topic and come back when I had thought of something beyond the obvious and overplayed.


But then, on Saturday, I was reading the New York Times morning email. The lead article was about the time switch and this paragraph immediately jumped out at me:


My favorite coping mechanism came from Kristin Easter in Bellevue, Wash., who doesn’t change her clocks on Sunday until she happens upon an hour she’d like back, ‘most of the time waiting until 11 a.m. then deciding that an hour of coffee, muffins and the paper would be great to repeat.’ If you have that kind of flexibility in your Sunday schedule, this seems like a sound plan.


I was blown away by this sentiment and, frankly, a little disgruntled that I hadn’t thought of it sooner. We can’t stop the clocks from falling back. Nor can we stop from the sun from setting before we’ve logged out of our 9:00 – 5:00s. But we can change how we spend that hour and we can certainly choose to love it.


As an early bird, I’ve always switched my alarm clock the night before and felt chipper enough just to get that extra hour of sleep. But this Sunday, I left it as it was. I went for my Sunday long run and came home to my partner. I made lunch and visited with my roommate and watched a little bit of television with the person I love.


Much later that night, when I was alone in my apartment, I made a mug of tea and grabbed my fluffiest blanket. I put my phone on silent and I picked up a novel. I pushed my alarm clock back an hour, and I reveled in the rebellious bliss of what felt like stolen time.


The days are shorter now. Soon (hopefully?) the weather will get colder. And it would certainly be easier to begrudge both these facts. But this is my 28th winter. I know with one hundred percent certainty that spring will come next.


In the meanwhile, the best thing I can do is find little tricks (like that with the alarm clock) to help my brain adjust to the new season. The best I can do is create space for savoring. I’ll keep my candle lit a little longer, keep the cupboards stocked with cocoa. I’ll embrace a season that in my part of the world is very different from the season six months past.


And I’ll find wonder in it.


There is a time for beach days and rain boots and eating ice cream at 8:30 sunsets while the cone drips onto your sundress. And there is a time for pumpkin patches and knit sweaters and the smell of fresh gingerbread in the oven while preparing for holiday family time.


Right now is the only time we’ve got. Perhaps best to simply lean in.