Here Comes Autumn: Coping with Life Changes in the Fall
I write reasonably often on the subject of coping with life changes. In this blog, I’d like to focus on life changes associated with the Fall of the year.
In North America, at least, Fall is a season when the issue of coping with life changes comes to the fore. In this season, a lot changes in many of our lives in quite a short span of time. Naturally we immediately think of children going back to school, and students returning to university, but the actual range of changes is a great deal wider than that. What is more, those changes are certainly not confined to the youngest among us. Those of any age can easily be subject to major change with the coming of autumn.
The coming of Fall makes us acutely aware of the passage of time. The rhythm of life changes for children and students, as they go back to their studies. Fall activities of many kinds resume, such as sports, book clubs, service clubs, yoga and mindfulness meditation classes, to name just a few.
Fall Changes and the Passage of Time
As we move into Fall in the mid-range northern latitudes where I live, changes in the natural world are very dramatic. Often almost overnight, the trees shift from the richness of lush green foliage, to brilliant yellows and oranges, and then those leaves fall and blow as dried husks across the land. It’s a remarkable change of state, and it presages changes in the minds of those who witness it. We become acutely aware of the passage of time, and not just in the abstract. We become aware of the passage of our own personal time.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Changes in nature are mirrored by equally striking changes in human affairs. The young mother watching young children going back to school remembers her own early school years. The middle aged father sees the practice of the high school football team, and remembers the feeling of the helmet and the ball. The grandparent follows the grandchild’s start at university, and remembers sitting in the big lecture hall, awaiting the first lecture of freshman year. There are connections, passages and patterns. Fall is a season that evokes deep feelings and reflections about our lives.
The Changes of Fall Echo Major Life Transitions
As we watch the events of the Fall, we may be brought back to major life transitions from our past. Or the unfolding of Fall may serve to make us more conscious of major life transitions that we are currently undergoing. For instance, it can be a very significant moment when the youngest child leaves for university, and a couple or a single parent is confronted with an empty nest and the the life questions that brings.
Similarly, a middle-aged person may confront poignant depression or anxiety at this time of year and may be confronted by the reality of mid life transition or later life transition. Really, anyone at any age may find that this time of year asks some very pointed questions. They may sound like: “My life is going by. Am I finding meaning and value in it? Time is precious. What do I need in my life now?
Coping with Life Changes and the Path to Wholeness
Fall brings deep changes in weather, light and vegetation. Combined with the whole shift in focus of our activities at this time of year, it also often brings the passage of time home to us in a very visceral way. Autumn can be a season that makes us profoundly aware of the reality of coping with life changes. These changes often affect us profoundly in ways that are both conscious and unconscious. It can be of the greatest importance for us to become aware of these movements and changes in our psyche, and to respond to them in ways that are life-giving.
Depth case studies can often greatly assist the process of coping with life changes, and understanding their deeply personal significance. Jungian therapy has a particular focus on the meaning and importance of such changes, and work with a supportive analyst can often bring deep benefits.
With every good wish for your personal journey,
© 2022 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)