October is a beautiful month, probably my most favorite month, just as fall is my favorite season. It’s still fall, but since I was raised in the Northeastern U.S., for me, November still has the ring of early winter. Spending most of this autumn season in Santa Fe has been a delight.
I’m thinking about what fall represents: maturity, for one. Change, and sometimes preparing for an ending. It brings to mind the fact that we are in the autumn of our lives, something that seems to have happened all of a sudden. We were adults, and then, POOF! We’re seniors.
There IS a certain maturity evident at this age; a way of looking at the world that’s quite different from how we viewed it when we were younger. Some might say we’re jaded, but I don’t think it’s that. Once we hit the senior years all our life experience has mounted up and when we stand atop it, well, the view is quite different than it was when we were young. Not for everyone. But I see it in myself.
Oh, it’s true the memory flags far too often, and stamina’s not what it used to be. But my conclusions about the world around me feel more solid, more true, more evidence-based.
Age and wisdom can go hand in hand, but they don’t always. I still get overly unglued at crazies and injustice I see. I’m not sure that will ever stop because passion is part of my DNA. But I can see I’m wiser than I was. I can hear you saying “I should hope so!” but really, it’s not a given, not automatic.
An unexpected change in my opinion of the now grey-haired President has also happened in this autumn of his term. Back in 2008 I wasn’t a fan. I thought he was unprepared, that it was Hillary’s time and that she should’ve gotten it. And while I don’t think he’s been a GREAT president, President Obama has grown into the role. Not every policy went smoothly and the country isn’t in perfect shape, but on most matters that he could directly influence–like foreign policy– he hasn’t left the country in worse shape than he found it. No, not perfect, but when has life ever been perfect for everyone? Of course if you’re in the group that’s experiencing tough times, you’re going to look at it differently.
But big picture, things aren’t falling completely apart yet, despite significant challenges home and abroad. And for that, I’m grateful. So the big surprise here is that I’ll be sorry to see him go because I like the guy and am even more impressed with his wife. They are two of the most un-self-conscious inhabitants of the White House we’ve seen, and it’s refreshing. People forget that those who hold office are first and foremost human beings, and I like these two human beings. A lot. I won’t even talk about my nervousness about the future.
Can’t change things. This election has been tough for me, one of those things that can make me come unglued. I had to decide that I can’t do anything about the outcome so why let it get to me as badly as it has. I guess I’m just disappointed in so many people. When I look around, some of the people I see scare me. But the fact is I can’t do anything about it and I’ve been working hard to let my senior maturity moderate my passion. Except for renewing my activism. Yes, I know. At odds with prior statements. But I can’t see the hate taking hold. I have to do something and I’m doing it through Pantsuit Nation, starting with a vigil tomorrow night at our city hall. At every city hall in the nation.
It’s been a difficult fall, a hard season for a lot of us. You might say we’ve all been through a fall surprise, with more to come. The road ahead will be difficult. The nation is polarized, crazies have been given license to exercise their craziness, our media are out of control in the worst of ways and appeals to Americans’ basest instincts have been effective in many quarters. There’s no way to put that stuff back in its box, either. Some rough times are coming.
When we make our way back to Santa Fe next fall, I hope the nation will be in better shape.