I love October. Every year, it feels like a deepening of the new adventures ushered in by September. This month is about settling down, breathing in and out, bundling up in cozy sweaters, anticipating the upcoming holiday season, letting go of summer and preparing for the barrenness of winter.
The air smells fresh and clean, the leaves are changing hue and drifting lazily to the ground, pumpkins are in stores and scattered throughout patches, and the rain (in Vancouver) and snow (in Calgary) are beginning. For me, October is a quiet respite in between the seasons. It’s like a pause button, a reasonable place to stop and look around.
This October I’m adjusting to my new role as a part-time creative writing student, back at university after many years away. I’ve had four classes so far and I’ve proven to myself that I am equipped for this particular challenge. Talking about story arcs, symbolism and the inventive use of voice for two and a half hours turns out to be my idea of heaven.
Recently, I signed with an agent for background acting as I’ve dabbled in it this year and decided I wanted to do more. I feel energized by the idea of saying yes to things that once had the power to terrify me. One of the jobs I just did meant working through the night and skating for hours, an activity I can technically accomplish but practically have not done for over a decade.
And you know what? I rocked it. Sure, my feet were sore by 5 am and I felt tired and achy the next day, but all of that was totally worth it because I dared to say yes when my insecurity urged me to respond “Hell no.”
We can do more than we think we can. This life we have been given is not a dress rehearsal. It is happening, right here and right now, and as the great poet Ferris Bueller told us back in the mid-80s: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
October is for looking around and for gratitude (Canadians celebrate our Thanksgiving this weekend, hands down my fave holiday other than Christmas). It’s an invitation to examine our priorities, cherish the people who mean the most to us (do they know how much we love them?), and identify where our time and resources are going.
Use this month as a pause button. Take a look around. This is too good to miss.