The light is changing

by kattiewampus

I’m drinking my first pumpkin spice latte of the season and it tastes like Fall. In. My. Mouth. Obviously, this warranted a blog post.

Although it’s some 80 degrees outside right now, the weather has already started to drop hints of change. Cold gray mornings, slanting afternoon light, cool evenings, and darkness at 7:30pm… it all points to the same thing. Fall is coming. There’s a certain quality in the air that is different from Summer – a crispness that you only find during months that end in “-er.” And there’s a certain quality about the light that is also different, but I don’t have the words to describe it.

The last time I got to watch Summer frost over into Fall  in the Bay Area was in 2007. All transitional anxieties and challenges aside, I’m pretty excited to experience this again.

Speaking of changes and transition, we are currently in the middle of a big one at the office. Our faculty support team of five lost two of our members on Tuesday to jobs in another department. We had all known that this change was coming for a couple of weeks, but this is the official first week without them in the office. Support for the entire body of faculty in our department is now distributed between the three of us who are left. So far, it hasn’t been too bad. Ask me how things are going when exam time comes around.

The change has definitely affected the dynamic of our office, however. Take a person out of the mix and the whole personality of a place can change. In our office, we had to say good-bye to someone who contributed in fantastically positive ways to the office culture, both in terms of her personality and her capability as an admin. She was the person who trained me when I started working here and her work ethic served as a role model for me. It’s been a lot more subdued without her in the office. When I started working here, she trained me for a week and then went on a two-week vacation. Because of that, I think I’ve mentally convinced myself that she’s on vacation right now and will be back in a few weeks. And that apparently is how I cope with unwanted change.

In other news, another element contributing to this whole “Fall is here!” mentality is the start of classes. I’m taking a Sign Language class and a Small Business Start-Up Management class at my alma mater community college. After not being a student for a year, it’s funny to find myself having come full circle: back in the community college environment. It’s bizarre to be back on the campus where I first started my college journey and to remember what it was like to take my first class when I was sixteen, feeling so young in comparison to everyone else. And now I’m back here voluntarily. I have a college degree. I’m taking these classes for fun. For the first time, being a student feels unnatural. It’s fun… but strange.

This has been a significant week for me because I realized this week that, for the first time since I moved back, I feel like my life is pretty good right now. It took me three months to get to this place, and there wasn’t any one thing that triggered the arrival point. But it suddenly occurred to me the other day that, really, I’m doing okay. I worry sometimes that if I get too comfortable, it’s just a sign that I’m regressing into childhood. But I don’t think that’s actually the case. I’m too restless for that. I will keep propelling myself forward, almost compulsively, in order to figure out where I want to go from here. And even so, I’m starting to appreciate where I am right now even as I explore what I want to do next. I won’t jump ship until I know where I’m going to land, but I don’t feel like I’m just marking time anymore. I see the goodness of life today, right now, in this moment… not in some distantly future half-realized possibility down the road.

I’m okay with not knowing what happens next. And I’m okay with taking my time to figure it out. Hello, world.