I mentioned last month that my asthma was back, and it was pretty much ruining my summer. I spent many days lying on our sofa like a consumptive cockroach, coughing with any exertion, trapped inside by the smokey air outside. Week after week, whenever the air was hazy I was wheezy (my least favourite Disney dwarf), even when we went on our vacation to the Okanagan. It was kind of awful, and it was scary, too.
Nothing makes you feel old like ill health. Actually, isn’t ill health the very definition of being elderly? Not able to do the activities you love, the boundaries of your world shrinking, your physical frailties becoming more and more apparent. Needing help with everyday tasks (DH was responsible for EVERYTHING. He never complained, but it made me feel like a parasite). I am not ready for that.
Fortune is once again shining on me because the sun is not. Autumn has brought rain, which calmed the forest fires and cleared the atmosphere. I’m still using my inhalators and meds but now they are actually keeping the asthma under control. I’m back, baby!
Autumn used to mean the start of a new school year for me, and I always looked forward to that. Autumn meant the things I was good at (reading, writing, etc.) and the end of things I wasn’t so good at (swimming, hiking). There’s a freshness in the air that signals new beginnings.
Here’s five reasons I love autumn (and none of them is pumpkin spice*).
- Grandchildren. The teachers in the family have gone back to work. And I am needed for baby-sitting. Right now I am responsible for the youngest (15 months) one day a week, and for the others now and again. Grandchildren really are the greatest!
- Exercising. It was too freaking hot and humid to get out for walks this summer. Just a trip to and from the grocery store left me with sweat dripping off my nose. Of course, the answer to that is customarily getting up early and getting out and about before the heat hit (about 8 am). But I was coughing every morning. Now I can use my errands to get a brisk walk, get out to the gym 3 days a week. It’s not just fun, it’s good for me. Nothing keeps the symptoms of old age at bay like exercise.
- Cooking. The kitchen of our little laneway hit 30C every afternoon. I would close the blinds to keep the sun from heating the furnishings, open all the windows to get a through breeze, turn on a fan. And still the heat was brutal. Just putting on the kettle raised the temperature by a couple of degrees. That meant barbecue and salad for dinner every day. And that’s great, but we miss casseroles and roasts, long-simmering soups, the occasional batch of muffins or cookies. Now we can use the stove all the time, and the oven was cleaned in preparation for months of use.
- Sleeping. Our bedroom is specifically designed for temperature control and darkness. It’s built into the slope at the back of the house, with a window that can be kept open all night. But even with a fan running 24-7, it was hot and sticky. We would take cool showers before we went to bed, and would wake up soaked with sweat. Also asthma likes to give you little visits in the night, you wake up gasping and coughing. I don’t miss that.
- Hobbies. Ironically, although I spent many hours sitting (all right, lazing) on the sofa this summer, I wasn’t able to keep up with my knitting. My hands would start to sweat, and pretty soon the yarn would stick to my fingers and the gauge would be all wrong. It was kinda creepy feeling, too. So I read, and read, and read. But I missed all my other hobbies, knitting, cooking, and taking walks.
I retired so I could do more of the things I love. And now I can. The season change has led to a much brighter mental feeling for sure, and it’s given me a boost.
*Pumpkin spice. Of course it’s really just the spices you would put into a pumpkin pie were you to bake one (pumpkins aren’t actually spicy on their own). But don’t dump it in everything! And why does everyone make everything so sweeeeeeeet?