Fall Appreciation Post

Today is September 22nd, which means it is officially the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere! It’s the season of pumpkins, changing leaves, oversized sweaters, sipping steaming mugs of coffee while looking through your window at the rain…

Delicious fall coffee, mmmmm……

…or it would be if I didn’t live in the south Bay, ha ha. The ten day forecast here has us going from 89 F to 100 F and down to 87 F starting on Saturday and ending on next Thursday–as in, the first of October. Then it’s supposed to stay in the eighties until possibly the end of time. I know global warming is real, but god damn… 

As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I moved out to California because it was the best job offer I had after graduating from graduate school. I’m originally from the east coast, and spent my childhood growing up in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina (military kid, can you tell?). I went to undergrad at a little school in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and fall was always spent hiking and driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Driving down rainy Autumn highways….

After North Carolina, I moved to South Korea which also is big on leaf-changing. It very rarely snowed where I lived, but fall was always a delight. After South Korea, I moved to New York, and autumn in the city was always delightful. However, my favorite memories were renting a car, packing it to the gills with friends, and driving upstate to go rock climbing and enjoy the general splendor of New York state mountains. After New York, we moved to Colorado, and nature’s majesty was literally at our doorstep all the damn time. 

I keep looking at autumn aesthetic pictures on tumblr and feeling my heart ache. Do you feel like you’re living in the wrong place? I do. I miss rain. I miss cold weather. I miss watching all the leaves change and the smell of fall in the air. The plan was to stay here for about two years — long enough to get enough experience to get hired somewhere else and to collect a pretty decent amount in my retirement savings — but with COVID, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be a reality anymore. I work in education, and, like all sectors, it’s taking a hit right now (totally understandable–frankly, if I were supposed to start college this year, I’d defer until next fall and take a gap year to paint or something). The type of position I’m looking for usually starts posting between January and May, so I’m re-shaping my CV and getting things ready to start applying and competing with literally every other person in my field. 

I’m not holding my breath about anything new. The likelihood of landing a new job right now is low, and I like the work I do at my current job, I just don’t like California. My partner and I have narrowed our choices down to a handful of states–Colorado, New York, maybe maybe western North Carolina–but he still hasn’t finished his second MA yet, and he’s thinking of applying for a PhD, which would mean more geographic limitations. 

I think it’s interesting how different people are, and how environments can reflect our attitudes or reveal aspects of ourselves that may not have surfaced before. I like gloom. I like being pensive and reflective, and I want a brooding environment that inspires me to feel that way sometimes, ha ha. I feel like I take things for granted here because it’s always sunny and hot and I can’t see the tree changes. 

I feel disconnected to my environment; however, that’s not the environment’s fault. I talk to people here from California, and they freaking love it here. The cynical part of me says that it’s because they’ve literally never lived anywhere else so of course they don’t know any better; but it could be that we just come from different stock, and that’s totally fine. 

(I still don’t get it, though.) 

Give me my changing leaves! Give me my rain and chill breezes! Give me black turtlenecks and contemplation! 

DO YOU REMEMBER RAIN?????

Anyway, I’m clearly having a case of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’–although, in this case, would we say the leaves are redder? 

Happy Fall, Y’all.

Six Months and Counting

So it’s been awhile.

In mid-March, our county released a mandatory shelter-in-place order. Today, it’s officially been six months, and here we are, still at home.

WOO HOO! WE DID IT GUYS! SIX MONTHS! CONGRATULATIONS!

(Well, those of us who are fortunate enough to be ‘non-essentials’ and have common sense, at any rate.)

California is also on fire, so the one thing we’ve been able to do since shelter-in-place (hike) has been curtailed due to bad air quality plus all the parks in our vicinity literally burning up. It’s been nearly a month and everything is still burning/closed. 

GOOD THINGS:

  • My partner has finished his time in Germany and is here with me through the winter. The classes he teaches are completely online this semester, so he can stay here with me and not have to go in-person to catch coronavirus from his students.
  • I still get to work from home.
  • Student loan payment deferment and interest got extended until January, so I was able to use my student loan payment money to get my car fixed.
  • I’m going to the hospital in a week to get checked out for IBD.

BAD THINGS:

  • There’s still coronavirus.
  • My car cost $5k to fix.
  • I’m going to the hospital in a week to get checked out for IBD.
  • My employer lowered their part of the retirement contribution in order to try and prevent furloughs, so now less is going toward retirement.
  • I’m waiting to hear if I’m going to get furloughed anyway.

Also I’m going to start posting more about art and health and personal stuff, so if you followed this blog for personal finance, be prepared to be disappointed. I’m in the boring part of FIRE where everything is pretty much automated, so unless I get furloughed, not much to talk about.