Pumpkin spice tea, cozy scarf, jeans weather, fall colors, what more could a girl ask for? Fall. It's a time of new beginnings as kids head back to school after summer break. It still stands out to me as a turning point, even though I’m no longer numbered among those who are returning to their backpacks and pencils, school buses and cafeteria lines. I think I will always consider this time of year to be one of new starts, even if I’m not moving on to another year of school. I've left behind the days of shopping for school supplies and new school clothes, but I've hung onto the feeling of wanting to begin again.

I adore fall—the beautiful, rich colors, the warm drinks, the leaves crunching beneath my boots, cozy sweaters and scarves—I love it all. Okay, I may resent the colder weather a little bit, but bonfires and hayrides and trips to the apple orchard make it well worth it. And the fact that the cooler temperatures come around whether I want them to or not reminds me that I’m not in control, that I have to choose to make the most of what I’m given and be grateful for each season (of the year and of life) as it comes, because no matter how endless it seems, it won’t last long.

Life would seem too monotonous and mundane without having anything to strive for, without any signposts to break up the year and remind us to set a new round of goals and ambitions. Many people think of resolutions as only an annual event, a New Year’s tradition. But why limit our reflections upon the past year and hopes for the next one to a single occurrence every twelve months? As the leaves begin to change color and the air grows crisper, I find myself considering once again what kinds of change and growth, what new starts, are needed in my life.

I am grateful for this season and the way it reminds me each year that I can have the opportunity to start again, to turn over a new leaf, to begin a new chapter. I choose to continually challenge myself, not with the mentality of never being good enough, but knowing that there is always some room for improvement in becoming the best version of myself.

As I break out my jacket and boots, I'm reminded once again that this season is a fleeting one-- it seems it's halfway gone almost as soon as I realize it began. All too soon, frost will be forming on the grass and stores will be filled with Christmas music, luring people into the mistaken notion that they need more stuff in their lives to be happy. Instead of falling prey to that way of thinking, I will pause to reflect upon everything I am already blessed with, knowing it's more than enough. I'm choosing to take this opportunity to recognize the brevity of fall and life as a whole, to see the need to cherish every moment, knowing each one is precious.

As the hours of daylight grow shorter, my time becomes an even more valuable commodity to me. But in preparation for the holiday season that will all too quickly be upon us, I will choose to slow down and savor the sights, sounds, and smells of fall while it's here, and I encourage you to do the same. May this be a time filled with the aroma of apple and cinnamon, the crunching of leaves and crackling of fires, and the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows of fall foliage as you take a moment to ponder the greatness of life in all its changing seasons.