Ok, so as much as I've moaned and groaned and stomped my feet about summer not being over with yet, I have to consider today the official start of fall in Kelly-land. Six years ago today I met my now-husband. It was the Tuesday night before classes started, I got separated from my orientation group during an evening ceremony, and a mutual friend had introduced us to one another earlier in the day. From the second we locked eyes, there was a mutual understanding of intrigue and imminent action. I sat by Drew on the brick courtyard by our college campus's carillon tower (under the guise of "I don't know anybody else here and I got separated from my group!"). Then, when the candlelight ceremony was over, he asked me to go for a walk around campus. Without hesitation I said something along the lines of, "Umm, yeah" or "Of course." And we walked and talked and I ignored whatever he was saying because all I could think was, "This is totally the person I'm going to marry." Isn't it fabulous when you're actually right about something like that?
I determined that fall started on August 21st two years ago, when I was anticipating a diamond ring and marriage proposal at any given moment of time. Drew had promised me we'd be engaged in the fall of 2011, so it worked in my favor to consider the end of August "fall." Sure enough, we didn't get engaged on our 4-year anniversary to my chagrin... but Drew did make me a fancy candlelit dinner, and I got to enjoy fall a little longer. The only thing was, I couldn't REALLY enjoy a season that I was wishing would hurry up and come and then hurry up and get engaged. Literally every single day I would wake up and think up opportunities for Drew to propose. I probably devised every plausible situation in existence. (Except for, you know, how he ACTUALLY proposed, since he surprised me SO well!)
It seems, unfortunately, that so many autumns are fleeting. I'm either wishing away the season so I can get what I want, or just wanting to survive another big "busy" time (wedding season in Tennessee, anyone?), or I just get caught up in the day-to-day and miss it all. I blink and the two weeks Tennessee has perfect weather are gone, gone, gone. Fall is short here. Back in 2007 I remember it staying hot for well through October. I was wearing shorts and sweating to death every day walking to classes my freshman year. In 2011 the weather was nice well into November, but I wished away any day that didn't get me to Point B. And then last year, Drew and I were in utter chaos mode, having just moved and graduated (in his case) and started a new career and dealing with a Jeep that kept breaking down and weddings every single weekend. Smack dab in the middle of all of that, I drove down to Atlanta and Making Things Happen changed my entire course of action career-wise. I spent a week away from Drew (our first apart since marriage) and celebrated my nephew's 5th birthday with my sister and her sweet family. I came back and made some life-altering strategic moves and then all of a sudden it was Christmas and we were chopping down trees and I was designing my website from Drew's family's chalet in the mountains on Christmas Eve.
I really do love fall. I love comfortable weather where I can sit out on the patio and work and drink coffee (I'M DOING THIS RIGHT NOW AND IT'S AMAZING!) . I love wearing red lipstick and my classic Ralph Lauren jeans and equestrian boots. I love pumpkin spice lattes and red cups at Starbucks (because they come in November, which is still fall, mind you). I love love love love LOVE L-O-V-E LOOOOOOVE Thanksgiving. It might be my favorite holiday. (I love going to my sister's home, wherever that is at the time, and making Granny's stuffing recipe and roasting or deep-frying turkeys and sweet potato pies and having a zillion people over, including all of the soldiers in her husband's unit who don't have families to go home to, and staying up late laughing with Drew and Dani and Jason, and wearing festive Christmas attire as we get up at 3AM and go Black Friday shopping and drink Starbucks and get white chocolate milkshakes at Steak & Shake. I especially love Thanksgiving when Mom doesn't have to work, so she and Daddy can come too. I love having our whole family together. Last year since Drew and I went to Georgia by ourselves, we hosted a miniature Thanksgiving at our apartment for both sets of our families the Sunday prior. That was my favorite, too. Hosting parties is one of my FAVORITE ways to show love, and it was just glorious. Decorating our apartment with monogrammed pumpkins and steamed table linens and roasting our first turkey and everyone bringing something delicious and having more food than we could ever actually eat.... glorious. But I digress!) Other things I love about fall: going on walks, the changing colors of leaves -- especially out here in Belle Meade where trees are everywhere, turkey trots, camping, the bluest of blue skies, Halloween, carving pumpkins, making pumpkin flavored everything, going to fall festivals with the babies, SEC football...
I love wearing sweaters and boots to weddings. I love rich oranges and corals and deep crimsons. I love the weather at fall weddings. I love the skies at fall weddings. I love bundling up and seeing wedding guests snacking on s'mores. I love making hot cocoa on the stove and homemade whipped cream with sprinkles on top. Drew and I deeply considered getting married on either September 29th (I LOVE SEPTEMBER) or a weekend in November (especially if I'd worn this wedding dress). We never actually thought we'd have a summer wedding -- isn't that funny? Fall weddings are just so dreamy... no wonder it's the most popular wedding season in the South!
In order to reap the maximum out of this season, I want to be extremely intentional about how I'm spending my time. I don't want it to just zoom by or "just get over with." There are some trials ahead of us (namely, the CPA exam and doing a stellar job with teaching community classes) that can be tempting to view as a "just get through this" kind of deal. But I want to take everything as best I can, day by day, and not waste a minute of it. I want to spend as much time outside as I can. I want to drink as many pumpkin spiced lattes as I can (maybe this time when I make it from scratch I won't leave off the rubber sealant on our blender and scald my hand and ruin my outfit again right before church). I want to take walks as often as humanly possible. I want to thoroughly enjoy every second of our trip down to the deep Southeast. I want to decorate for the season EARLY (and not wait until the morning of our Thanksgiving party). I want to set ourselves up for success so that Christmas isn't rushed through and chaotic, too. I want to enjoy family as much as I can, drive with the sunroof open as much as I can. I want to take Christmas card pictures early and actually order them in time to send out before New Year's Eve. Living in the moment... I want to lie out at the pool a few last times before it's closed up for Labor Day, and locked up until the end of next May. I want to be an intentional mentor with the internship I'm offering. I want to stop the glorification of "busy." I want to have better adjectives to describe my monthly updates. I want to spend some time just BEING. As Dr. Skye told us Sunday, "We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS." I want to read my bible and go to church and go back to our small group community and start singing in choir again. I want to make Sundays sacred again. I want to eat less sugar and drink less wine (and savor them more when I DO enjoy little luxuries). I want to refocus my business, plan a successful 2014 but not get caught up in too much of unnecessary details I tend to dwell on. I want to DO more than I just think about doing.
What do you want for this season ahead? September is upon us faster than you might think. Don't rush through these last weeks of summer, of course (LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT!), but be intentional with your time. You won't regret it. "If you live every single day as if it's your last, one day you'll be right." (Unknown)
Have thoughts, questions, input? Weigh in, lovelies!