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Taking note: Change in the air

A leaf gently floated down from the old oak tree in my backyard, just as I was thinking of the fast-approaching autumn.

As I looked around the yard, I noticed this fallen leaf was hardly alone.

A collection of crisp leaves dotted the grass throughout the yard.

They seem to be a testament to the waning days of summer, an invitation to the coming autumn.

But the falling leaves are just one part of a larger picture that informs us of summer’s end.

The sunrises that grow later and later.

The sunsets that come sooner and sooner, with the new early darkness that seems to sneak up on you in late summer.

The chill in the late August air, the days that sink into the low 50-degree range.

For those who love the long, warm days of summer as I do, these signs of autumn seem to arrive all too soon.

The rapidly passing days of spring and summer always leave me wanting more.

I always find myself wishing for just one more day of swimming in Lake Superior, or one more warm night camping beneath the stars.

But all of my wishes can’t change the fact that cooler weather is on the way.

And the people in my life who favor autumn over summer are elated.

So I’m trying to adopt their mentality and seek out the positives of the months ahead.

For one, the delightful crisp air and the unmistakable scent of fall is always a highlight.

And of course, the beautiful hues of the changing leaves, which make any autumn walk or drive a special treat.

Then there are the joys of a hot cup of coffee or tea on a cold, rainy morning.

And the endless wonders of the harvest season, getting lost in pumpkin patches and corn mazes.

The glorious stormy nights that inspire me to spend the evening curled up with a good book.

Plus, the pleasant warmth of sitting around a fire or cooking over the stove on a cool day, and the joys of donning my favorite sweaters and jackets.

Although I’ve rarely found myself excited for autumn, I’ve found myself more accepting of the seasonal change this year.

And I think this is because I’ve deliberately sought out things to look forward to after summer ends, rather than focusing on what will be lost.

If we look for the downsides of a change, we are sure to find them.

But if we look for the positives of a change, we are sure to find those too.

And this is true for situations far beyond dealing with seasonal changes.

When we expect an upcoming change in our lives to be a negative experience, we look for evidence to fulfill our expectations.

We seek out everything difficult or unpleasant about this change. And we find what we look for in the situation, fulfilling our prophecy that the change is going to be a bad experience.

But the same is true of positive expectations about changes, even difficult ones. When we look for evidence of good things coming from changes in our lives, we can find delightful surprises.

And when we acknowledge the difficulties of change in our lives while seeking out its upsides, we equip ourselves to cope with a challenging situation a little bit better.

Just as the leaves on trees will soon change, we can work on turning over a new leaf with our expectations and perceptions of changes in our lives.

Even when changes are hard, they can bring unexpected joys if we know how to look for them.

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