Living somewhere on the globe that didn’t experience four seasons would be a difficult adjustment for me to make. As a child growing up in Pennsylvania, I took for granted that life’s activities were largely organized around the seasons of the year. While I never planted or harvested a crop of any kind (unless you count plucking my eyebrows, which in my youth did require the use of a thresher), I still took my cues for so many things—from new endeavors to fashion choices to mental outlook—from the changing seasons.

As an adult, I continue to run on this internal calendar although I have willingly traded Pennsylvania winters for considerably milder Georgia ones. My strict adherence to “seasonalism” was a bit confounding to my Colombian husband when we first met. Seasons to him meant only rainy or dry, and he had a hard time understanding the lifestyle dictates of a temperate climate. He just didn’t get, for example, why the pink sandals worn on a sunny, 75-degree May afternoon would be completely inappropriate if worn on a sunny, 75-degree afternoon five months later, in October. (What’s next, eating caramel apples in July?)

With the official start of fall fewer than two weeks away, the lazy lemonade days of summer are quickly becoming a memory. Delicious though it was, that time has come and gone, and I am anxious to embrace cool, crisp mornings and warm, blue-skied afternoons (albeit, not in pink sandals). I want to immerse my senses in the sights, sounds and smells of autumn and feel my spirit renewed and my energy recharged. It seems a bit incongruous to talk about fall as a time of renewal since even a non-agrarian such as I know it’s the end of a growing cycle, not the beginning of one. I suppose it’s a holdover from schooldays, but fall has always signaled a fresh start to me. I see fall as a reset button, one last chance to refocus my goals and finish the year strong.

And maybe there’s a larger lesson for us in that seeming contradiction. The truth is we don’t have to wait for the appropriate season or any particular date to change our course and head in a new direction. Any day of the week, any time of the year can be a new beginning for us if that’s what we desire and dedicate ourselves to achieving. We have the power to create our own planting and harvest seasons, ones that will best serve our needs and advance us on our journeys. So, take this season and make it your own. Toss the calendar aside and determine what it is you need to do for yourself. Whether it’s time for you to plant, harvest or lie fallow this fall, go do it. And, what the heck, if it feels right to you, you can even wear pink sandals!

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