I love autumn. I love the sweet sadness less sunlight brings. The vulnerability of smelling the dry grass and crushed leaves turning to mulch on the sidewalk.

There is a promise of colder weather and hardship, juxtaposed with an abundance of harvested food and holidays. It makes me recognize that time has passed without any remarkable improvement on my part. So I start setting goals for a new year to come; a clean slate on the horizon of January.

I don’t think I am at my happiest in fall. Rather, it makes me more quiet and reflective compared to my social summer self. Which means it is great for writing, it inspires self doubt and self improvement. It is the season of poets scribbling cryptic notes on lined paper and feeling lonely, wearing black jackets and drinking hot drinks.

It has a coziness to it, the heavier clothing cocooning you and also isolating you from the outside world. Scarves, I love scarves whipping about in the wind.

For me fall also means family, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Being evaluated for your shortcomings and loved despite them. It means being around people who know my history without needing an explanation.

However, it also means people who have known me my whole life holding me to an old standard. No doubt something I once said out loud. But I have changed, just like they have. Hopefully for the better, but who can measure that anyway.

Most progress is measured in a feeling you are moving forward in some aspect of your life. Maybe just making a lot of mistakes and learning from them, you can always chose to put a positive spin on mistakes. It worked for Edison, and he’s a pretty cool role model.

My potential and perspective shifts each year. I hope my beloved relatives can take personal growth into account.

Materially speaking my progress report is short. I haven’t gotten married, bought a house or had a child. For which I am grateful to be so unsuccessful. Sometimes success is marked by celebrating the dozens of things that have gone right, and sometimes it is celebrating what hasn’t happened. A triumphant lack of tragedy and suffering.

I might have more scar tissue and freckled skin from this climate, but I also feel more mentally well adjusted. The people I have met this past year have shaped me, and I am thankful for that. The reminder that I can serve some purpose in the workforce, and also enjoy myself in a social setting outside those parameters. I can like all the people I want, in all the different groups.

The cold will have us declare loyalties and allocate resources, who is worthy of friendship and who isn’t? Just like Game of Thrones reminds the world, “Winter is coming.”