Falling leaves

You might have noticed we had an extra hour of weekend this weekend. You might have also noticed it’s getting dark at a ridiculous time (GMT 16.42 today). I certainly have. And for the first time in my life I noticed I was struggling a bit with it.  

While the management of my apartment building have just gone out of their way to put up Halloween decorations, my neighbours have decided to put up their Christmas tree on the 25th of October. Maybe my neighbours are struggling a bit too and are trying to get that festive ambiance in early to zhuzh life up.

Usually, I feel pretty ok with the perspective of long autumn walks, pretty autumn colours, hearty autumn food, cosy pub afternoons, rainy days lending themselves perfectly for curling up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and a book, pumpkin spiced lattes, pretty lights everywhere and the endless activities that start to kick off in the run up to Christmas (Turned out to be a pretty uplifting exercise writing these pick-me-ups down by the way!).

I don’t think I need to spell out why things are different this year. Unfortunately, it looks like the social aspect of this season is cancelled. No festive drinks planned in my calendar and my first secret Santa that is booked is a virtual one. Yesterday it dawned on me it’s unlikely I’ll be spending Christmas with my family. 10 Days of quarantine on the way in and 14 days on the way back might be a bit much to not be able to meet up with the family for Christmas dinner anyway.  

I’m a pretty upbeat, happy go lucky person. I also appreciate I’m in an incredibly fortunate position and shouldn’t complain at all. But we’re all allowed to feel a bit sorry for ourselves from time to time. Nevertheless, if I’ve been taken aback by this sudden melancholic “shorter days, falling leaves” feeling, I can only imagine how people who are prone to be affected by falling leaves feel now.

As a manager, I’m also aware that I need to be careful with showcasing my mood. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be open and honest about how you feel, but you need to have a sense of awareness of how your mood could affect other people’s moods. You don’t want you feeling a tat miserable rubbing off on anyone else.

It made me think about how I want to deal with the next couple of months. How am I going to be keeping things light and have fun? How am I going to drag myself out of this potential spiral of negativity? As mentioned before: I believe you have a choice in how to deal with what life throws at you. And right now I choose not to be miserable and focus on positive things.

Apart from jotting down pick-me-ups, one of the things that keeps coming back on my path is the topic of hobbies. I’ve heard people saying that having a hobby made a massive difference while being in lock down. It gives you something to look forward to and get excited about. We’re working on an initiative at work to get people to share their hobbies and drive other people to get involved. I think it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Like a passion, a hobby might be something you feel is difficult to find if you haven’t thought about it before. On the other hand, there is no harm in trying a couple before finding anything that sticks.

I went down a rabbit hole yesterday with the pursuit of a new hobby plan. My friend texted me she was picking up “paint by numbers”. I got excited and considered doing the same. Went on Amazon to buy a “Paint by numbers van Gogh”, stumbled on a: “Paint by number your own photo”, forgot about attempting to reproduce van Gogh and decided to find a picture I would like to see converted into a painting. Spent hours scrolling through my pictures and came up with some plans on what to do with them that got me massively excited. Binned the “paint by numbers” plan, changed to “do something creative and artsy with my favourite pictures plan” (not changing them into a painting). First step: I’m going to have the picture featured in this post printed on acrylic glass. It might turn out to look like a very bad attempt at contemporary art, but the thought of it put a smile on my face instantly.

Long and short: Pick up a hobby that suits you. It might help you to turn your frown upside down (Apologies, I couldn’t help myself).

Falling leaves and short days make people do and feel strange things. Falling leaves and feeling isolated might make people do even stranger things. Let’s be aware, mindful, helpful and try to choose the positive way to deal with the lemons.