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The fall season is a favorite of mine. This year, it’s a balance of joy and struggle. The pandemic, a guest that has worn out its welcome, makes it more complicated. The anticipation of this week’s federal election fogs my joy, too. I feel the stress of wondering about the results, the response of leaders, the response of Americans, and the responsibility of the media to be patient with reporting results. You might be feeling all that, too. But, hey, what’s a little more uncertainty? After all, it is 2020. When all I want to do is curl up with a cozy blanket in a fall chill, I feel the weight of our current circumstances that leave me cold in a different way.

I do love autumn, but I have to get creative this year and not give up on the joy. What are you doing this fall to enjoy the season? Here are some of my favorite activities lately.

  • While at my desk, sometimes I sit virtually by the river to enjoy the calming sound and beautiful fall color while working, using the YouTube video below.
  • We enjoy a simple cup of hot tea in the evenings, a November ritual that gets interrupted by hot cocoa once December comes.
  • To cut back on all my computer screen time these days with working remotely, I went old school and ordered actual paper magazines. Remember print magazines? Do you still read physical magazines?
It is fun and relaxing to flip through pages for color, design, articles, and ideas.
  • I enjoy watching Hallmark movies with an autumn setting. The sets of those movies are always beautiful.
Hallmark is one place I get my fall color fix, since I live near Los Angeles.
  • My college football team did not play for the first half of the season. Fortunately, the Big 10 did start their schedule on October 24. I hope it works out safely for all the teams.
Purdue’s first game took place on October 24, and they won!

Some days are like a scavenger hunt for contentment, to find a centering joy not dependent on what life looked like before. Fall is a favorite time and I want to keep that feeling. Lets’ not give up. I want to look back and feel like we made the most of it, in spite of the limits and heartache of separation from loved ones.

Although cloudy moods can set in, and that is natural, many days have sweet encouragement in simple things, including these for example.

Slow Cooker Chili
My Annual Great Pumpkin Personal Party
Fall Baking
Dodgers won the World Championship and that brought lots of local joy.

This fall will not be the same. We must shift expectations. I love how some friends have taken road trips to find fall color and beauty. Following their inspiration, we can choose to be OK and get through it, making the most of it. Then we can look back on it to see it worked out after all. Maybe not without disappointment, but hopefully still with joy.

What are your November or autumn rituals or plans? Can you still do those even in a pandemic? Where will you have to get creative? What will Thanksgiving look for you this year?

Stay cozy this fall, my friends.