All over my social media feeds, I see people rushing toward fall. They’re buying fall decor—pumpkins and fall leaves and all things orange and brown. They’re posting shopping hauls with fall sweaters—even when it’s still 90 degrees where they live.
I sympathize with their desire. After several months of hot weather, I, too, am looking forward to cooler temperatures, to cozy gray afternoons, to sweaters and boots and hot mugs of tea. And it’s not just the cooler weather; for some of us, it’s a slower pace of life, or at least a more normal pace after a hectic and often unpredictable summer.
There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to an upcoming season. There’s certainly nothing wrong with intentionally crafting a cozy atmosphere in your home or life, regardless of the weather.
But in this push for fall while summer is not yet over, I see a pattern, one which is carried out throughout the year. We push toward fall while summer is not yet over. Then we reach for Christmas rather than savouring the end of fall, and as soon as the holidays are over, we abandon our cozy winter habits and start yearning for spring. We get into the habit of constantly reaching for what comes next rather than savouring what’s happening right now.
Today I might be longing for cooler weather and cozier days. But before I know it, I’ll be missing the sunshine I’m taking for granted today. When that day comes, will I wish I had savoured the last days of sunny weather, the last days of going out without a sweater and scarf? When the monotony of fall settles in and the holidays are still weeks away, will I regret wishing away the last days of summer?
This post isn’t really about appreciating the last days of summer—though I think it would do us good to savour the season of the year we’re currently in before rushing to the next one.
The real issue, as I see it, is the mental habit we are developing by constantly focusing on what’s coming next rather than paying attention to what’s already here. It’s not just about the season of the year; this same mental habit applies to the seasons of our lives as well.
I’m expecting a baby at the beginning of 2023, and it is so easy to place all my focus on having our baby here with us. I find myself planning what life will look like once the baby arrives. I look forward to it with such anticipation that I find myself wishing we were already there, already holding our little one in our arms.
But right now, it’s just my husband and I. And once our baby arrives, it won’t be just the two of us again for years—decades, in fact. When I place all my focus on the baby being here, I can easily forget to savour these last, precious months where it’s just my husband and I. This space between our wedding and the birth of our child is such a short period of time compared to what the rest of our married life will be; I don’t want to miss it because all my attention is on what’s coming next.
Here’s the thing, though: it’s not just about this one life transition. Right now I find myself focusing on the baby being out of my body and in our arms. But after this will come the temptation to focus on all the upcoming stages of baby’s development—learning to walk, learning to read, being old enough for family game nights—rather than being fully present in whatever season we’re in at that moment. Constantly looking ahead could cause me to miss what’s precious and unique about right now because I’m too busy reaching for what comes next.
Babies grow up so fast. I can’t get these days back. I can’t get today back.
We do this with all sorts of seasons in our lives. We focus on the career we want to the point of missing opportunities that come up during university. We focus on moving to a bigger house rather than enjoying the things we like about this house. We focus on how good things “will be” when X, Y, or Z finally happens. And because all our focus is on “someday,” we don’t notice how good things are right now.
I don’t want to rush through the seasons of my life.
I don’t want to waste away my baby’s earliest months because I’m too busy planning our future homeschool adventures.
I don’t want to take for granted the precious baby snuggles because I’m so focused on my baby learning to walk, or talk, or hold their own spoon.
I don’t want to forget to enjoy feeling my child kick from the inside, to relish being not just their mom, but their entire world for a few short months. I don’t want to fail to enjoy my pregnancy—the pregnancy I’ve longed for and prayed for—because I’m so focused on what life will be like after baby arrives.
I don’t want to focus so much on the arrival of fall that I forget to savour the last days of summer.