With the exception of the many “Back to School Sale” ads on every corner, yellow bus sightings, flashing lights of school zones, and a few breezy, 90-something-degree days, there’s not much that indicates September has arrived in Las Vegas.
But here it is – September 1st to be exact – and I find myself a little shocked that summer is almost over. But, I say that every year, so what else is new?
This summer has been jam-packed with growth, both professionally and personally… and might I add that this includes the “adulting” department as well?
For me, each season of the year has its own theme, and I’m not referring to merely holiday or weather-related things, like beach balls or pumpkin lattes, although of course that is part of it. What I’m talking about, however, is an overall way of living and being for each particular season.
Here’s a quick little overview of what I like to call the Four Seasons of Self-Development:
Spring symbolizes new beginnings, a fresh start. This is when we dig our hands in the literal and figurative dirt to plant seeds for the new cycle of life. It’s about getting really serious about what it is we want to achieve, and we take those steps in the direction of our dreams. It’s become a tradition for me for the last three springs to plant a small garden as a declaration to the Universe that I’m ready for growth… the very first time I did this was two days after I’d quit my day-job to do my photography business full-time.
It’s no surprise, then, that I spend quite a bit of time outdoors March, April and May, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature. It’s so peaceful and soothing, and helps me stay grounded as I contemplate my goals, dreams and plans for the coming months. Additionally, it provides a peaceful energy that I’m able to take with me through the rest of the year, remembering that Mother Nature is always there and I can connect with her at anytime I need to, no matter the season.
Summer represents adventure, bold action, vulnerability and fun. It also shines a nice spotlight on my own “inner-child,” who loves to come out and play… and this is important, because as I see it, Summer’s theme has a big emphasis on self-development and doing things that scare us, but that are required for us to grow. So, channeling my inner-child allows me to go back to a time when I believed that anything was possible; that I could be anything, do anything. It’s a freeing feeling, and gives me what I need to be brave and just do without preconceived notions or adult-anxieties.
Yet, at the same time, my adult side keeps that in check, by ensuring that I am disciplined, dedicated and focused. Still, it’s not all work and no play, as my inner-child is rewarded with pool days, beach trips, campfires, and stargazing. Yippee-skippy!
Fall is a time of inward focus, when I choose to be a little more introverted and self-reflective. After the excitement of Summer, I step back and do a little inventory of what I’ve accomplished over the last few months. I ask myself, “Did I reach my goals? What lessons did I learn, and what will I take with me into the coming months? What am I grateful for? In what ways have I changed, and how do I feel about this change? How can I nurture myself during this time?”
Summer has usually taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t, what I want and what I don’t. By the time Fall rolls around, I’m a lot more conscious of what’s in my best interest, and try my hardest to use that wisdom to my benefit.
Since Fall is right around the corner, I recommend that you, too, make self-care a priority for those few months. This can be anything from curling up on the couch with a cozy blanket, enticing book and a hot cup of tea, to booking a session with your therapist or finally getting back into that yoga practice. It’s all about mental health maintenance, which is something we all need to be mindful of.
I’m not saying to put everything on hold, by any means. Keep going, seriously. Don’t stop being a productive, dedicated person… but just make a little bit more time for yourself. I guarantee you can find the balance needed. (Feel guilty? If you’re looking for permission to be a little more selfish, I just gave it to you. Go ahead. It’s okay!)
Winter is a time of tradition, celebration, and being full-steam-ahead. Overall, it’s an action-oriented time, less playful than summer and more urgent. Because this also encompasses the changing of the calendar year, I feel the jolt of energy needed to get shit done. And that to-do list is pretty insane, as not only do I have the year’s goals to wrap up, but gifts as well.
For those of us who have lost loved ones, the holidays can be a time of sadness and longing for the better days. (Last year was excruciating for me.) I try to keep myself busy with new traditions I’ve created with my own little family, and host a big party if I can. But, I’m also very careful about not getting too caught up in drama or the baggage of others, as this is definitely not the time of the year for such stress. Plus, emotions are running high with everyone. So, do not activate any bombs waiting to explode.
Winter is the only season that takes us from one year to the next, and marks both the end and beginning. It’s a time for letting go of what no longer serves us and setting intentions for what we wish to accomplish in the coming year. And, of course, it’s for celebration. So, once that final quarter rolls around, be sure to pour a glass of champagne in honor of the many blessings from the year, and all those you can look forward to in the future. Cheers!
And, that’s the Four Seasons of Self-Development! Feel free to incorporate those themes into your own life, or create your own. Whatever you do, I hope you always find something to look forward to with every season, and you savor all of the special moments that are waiting for you.
Photo taken in San Clemente, CA by Gina Mizzoni. Exposure: F/22, 1/60 sec, ISO 200__
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