Every year in late autumn and early winter, a certain type of wistfulness descends upon me, tempting me to consider a visit to the colder climes and snowy days of the Midwest. Yet, when I pause long enough to consider a visit, I remember that only a few days’ experience of frost and cold and snow, of static electricity plastering my fine hair against my head (or, worse still, standing it on end!), of the rub of sweaters drying my skin to the point of prickling and pinching would find me scurrying back to the warm, moist air of southwest Florida.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this wistfulness and wondering why I’m not feeling it this time around. I really have no desire to leave on an adventure and I find a long-elusive sense of contentment settling into my bones. It feels akin to having shed my skin, at a time of year when the harvest of the year’s projects draws to a close and a period of dormancy lies ahead, setting the stage for yet another rebirth and even more growth.
I can’t help but think that shedding the old cells, the old form that once protected me but then began to confine me, laid the groundwork for this sense of - well, contentment. Perhaps regenerating our lives has much to do with changing the stories we tell about ourselves - to ourselves and others. Personally, I don’t want to go back to the stories - of insufficiency, unworthiness, feeling less-than-good and much less than good-enough - I’ve told myself for decades. A better story for me is one tinged with laughter about the lessons learned over a lifetime and gratitude for those lessons, too.
Wistfulness - that kind of longing tinged with some type of regret - doesn’t sit at my table this year. I’m not experiencing a desire to return to a time and place of my past. I do wonder what it would be like to be able to talk to my mom and dad again, about this time and from this place, but I have no desire to go back to the miasma of parts of my past.
This time around finds me enjoying the sun and breezes; laughing at the thought of my fly-away hair now lying limply on my scalp, damp from humidity; smiling at the anticipation of a day cool enough to actually wear a sweater. Then, there’s that deep gratefulness, for the different perspective resulting from the different context from which I choose to view my life, filling all the spaces.