Our lives are made up of ever-rotating seasons. Just when we feel comfortable and settled, the season changes and we must adapt. This is one benefit I have found to getting older - I no longer fear these changes and plan for them the best I can. When my kids are in a great stage, obedient and polite, I enjoy it, but know that around the corner they will be monsters for a little while. When life is calm and organized, I know that soon it will become busy and stressful. It's a bit like a see-saw: we have the ups, the downs and the time it takes to move to and from those positions. In my twenties I used to panic about these changes, but in my thirties I recognize that seasons will come and go, and as I cannot change these cycles from happening, I've come to accept their inevitability.
There is a certain freedom when we let go of our expectations and allow ourselves to be surprised. When things are really bad, we know they won't last forever, as change is always coming. The same is true for the good times. If we had no seasons, we would be far too comfortable in the good parts of our lives. Change keeps us attentive and appreciative of all that we've been given. On my best days, this knowledge helps me to stay in the moment and be aware of what's going on around me. On the worst days, I feel afraid and want to hug the good things close, praying I can keep them just a bit longer. Life doesn't work that way. I'm not in control and every day I get closer to understanding and accepting this truth.
I lived in Los Angeles for a year when I was 19. In many ways, it was one of the best times of my life so far because I was living my dream of studying film and working in the film industry. I know native LA'ers will disagree with me here, but the lack of seasons was disconcerting to me. When you live there, you do find distinct seasons (I remember arriving to University in September and having my friends talk about pulling out their sweaters and winter jackets for the upcoming winter and I thought they were nuts), but in general, year-round the weather was mild and the sun was shining. I lived in the Vancouver area for 13 years after that, and adapted to the lower mainland's two seasons: warm rain and cold rain (I realize this post is not helping my friendships with the BC contingent!). Growing up near Edmonton and now living near Calgary has brought me back to 4 distinct seasons and I really do love the changes. It suits my personality to experience the drama of snow turning to spring, summer turning to fall, and back again. It engenders a fresh appreciation for the joys and frustrations in each season, reminding me of life.
I'm in a good season right now. My kids are fun at almost 7 and nearly 4, Jason and I are in a happy place together, my writing is providing so much satisfaction, I love teaching the Creative Writing class, work is good, friends are good, everything feels like it's going in a positive direction. It won't last forever. But while I'm in this good place I'm going to enjoy it, soak it up so that when the hard times come I will know that the seasons will never stop changing, and I must change and grow with them.