Onward Into Fall

The Grebes left a couple weeks ago. I’m surprised the pelicans still frequent the lake. The leaves started turning too, growing more gold every day.

It’s not the chilling weather that gives me pause. At least the air has dried out finally. The impending cold and snow of winter, cutting off fun time in the CJs and hanging out at the beach has me pensive.

I think back to the closing weeks after summer season at the Breaks. Last year I went back for the elk rut and camped at Kipp Landing, a welcome return to the better memories of my past. Even there, changes had taken place in my absence.

Why does the march of time bother us? Is it the reminder that we ourselves are changing? With age, do we grow more aware of the fact that one day life and time will march on without us?

Perhaps that is part of what sours my mood every year around this time. Perhaps I just want to crawl into a hole because fall is a harbinger of sub-zero weather and white-knuckle driving.

This year is different. For the first time since 2016, I’m making more money than I need to “just get by” every month. For the first time since 2010, I don’t need two jobs to make that happen.

My hope is that this winter I can have the time to focus on mental resilience. Between the load and nature of work, I’ve been trapped in a pattern of behavior conditioned into me in childhood.

As the oldest of five kids and thanks to parental dynamics, I carried a lot of responsibility from a young age. My primary job entailed meeting everyone else’s needs before my own, including sleep because wanting enough sleep was “selfish.”

As time went on, I grew the habit of overwork, sacrificing eating and sleeping to the point I slipped into escapist behaviors. At least I stuck to alcohol, tobacco and food, but mild as those may seem, even those vices come back on a person over time.

I’ve juggled trying to correct all three over the years with roller coaster success. 

Starting this month, I’m trying again to quit tobacco. As for food and alcohol, I’ll keep those to moderation for the time being. This time, I’m approaching the whole problem differently, namely that I recognize what the real problem is. 

Guess what, the problem isn’t the vice. The vice is the band aid making up for something else. In my case, it compensates for the stress from not meeting the basic needs of living for too long.

People fall into addiction for a reason. It’s not because they have weak character or are degenerate in some way. And I will say that judgemental people contribute to others resorting to addiction.

I have at least a year to go to know if this time quitting tobacco will be successful, but I’m confident I will do it. I am looking forward to completing some projects in my own time over the next few months which is part of my strategy to lick this finally and completely.

Wish me luck!


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