My seasons change, unlike nature’s season, without warning and before I know it, past-times are gone and I find myself standing in a new place. I have learned that I don’t usually realize I’m in a new season until I vocalize my observation of the changes around me…and then it clicks. Over the last few weeks, change has settled in and I have welcomed it eagerly. I usually dwell within my mind in the time leading up to a bigger decision and I try to weigh out all the outcomes, because I am calculated (very calculated), but much like standing on the edge of a cliff waiting to jump into the water below, as soon as you step off, the motion is set and the surge of change leaves thought, enters reality and there is no turning back.

This motion/seasonal shift started Saturday June 27th when I adopted my dog, Cruz. Having your own dog is a huge responsibility and had spent the better part of 4-5 months going back and forth on whether or not I ACTUALLY wanted my life of no structure to change; the life where I could do as I please and not be held accountable for anyone’s well-being. Even though I still didn’t feel I was fully ready to make the change, I had my eye on Cruz for a few weeks before sending the email to setup a time to meet him. The moment I met him, I knew I was ready to change whatever I needed to have him in my life…it was that simple. Since then, I’ve changed my schedule, habits, finances, etc. to make sure I am responsible for him and I couldn’t be happier. I exercise more, eat out less/pass on non-essential food and manage my time closer, all of which have made me happier.

With the small (or big) changes Cruz has brought, I started desiring more for my life. I am generally happy with the life I have, I always try to make the best out of it and find the value in the highs and lows and as I get older it’s been easier to recognize the type of season I’m in and adjust my mindset, just as you wouldn’t wear a parka in July, why wouldn’t you change your mindset to be in the season you are? Currently, I have found myself in a season of preparation and discipline. I started changing my habits with small things, which will result in being able to change my habits with big things.

This started with wanting more out of life which looks like educating myself, finishing projects, focusing on desires and deleting distractions. I’ve thrown away/eliminated more distractions in the past few weeks than I have in years and it feels incredible. I was listening to a podcast where someone said “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” which led me to wonder if the people I spend the most time with have the same direction, so I needed to understand that, so I could be the person I want to be. I’ve wanted change without changing a thing…how absurd! It’s not that I’m just getting rid of friends, but I am understanding how the time I spend with them plays a part in my goals. With these changes, I started listening to art podcasts with well-studied and established artists, pouring oceans of information into my mind. I’ve also started to listen to audiobooks, as over the years I haven’t made it a point to stop life and open “real” books. I still desire to read books and have bought/started a few recently but it’s a start, a change of mindset that leads me closer to my goals. Along with podcasts and books, I’ve started a list of unfinished projects to complete, the projects that linger in my mind and keep me from excelling. Their start may have been wonderful, but somewhere along the way, they lost their steam, but that needed to change. Checking off these projects, no matter how small, like framing posters and artwork, has been incredibly satisfying and created a mentality that has momentum towards good and positive things. To quote the brilliant movie “What About Bob?”…

“Baby steps…”

Another big change has been to rethink the part that alcohol plays in my life. I love a full body IPA and a smooth whiskey, but I’ve realized and admitted that copious amounts of both over the last months (or if I’m honest, years) has been a sort of medication. Whether it stems from leaving the church over a year ago, reliving relationships I thought should have been different or just a general dissatisfaction with who I am/where I’m at in life, I was subliminally medicating. I’ve realized that I often look at who I want to be and become disappointed with who I am/where I’m at, completely forgetting that life is a journey, not a simple jump from situation to situation. To parallel, life is more like walking/biking or even driving a car to a destination rather than flying. Your surroundings will shape you along your journey, resulting in getting to your end point with a meaningful story, a story that shaped you in a wonderful way; I want a story but more importantly…I want THAT story! It became clear that to have that story, I needed to stop waking up hung over and spending money I didn’t have to fill some sort of void, whether it was personal, social or other, it was pointless. In this time of reducing alcohol intake significantly, I’ve learned so much about the habitual nature of it that has been engrained into my life, unbeknownst to me.

With all these changes, the biggest one I’ve made is one to return to a life I used to have, a life where I simply slow down.
I bought a new journal and fountain pen to start writing again, I spend more time in nature and in conversation with new people, aching to hear their story, to listen to their journey and learn about life. I snapped this photo of a green world at Radnor Lake yesterday while on my walk with Cruz. It reminded me of a spinach/kale based smoothie I usually get at the local juice place and I just sat and stared at how beautiful it all was. The day was perfect in temperature and I couldn’t have asked for a better day to slow down.

This is an encouragement to slow down and evaluate what your goals are and practically apply changes to achieve them. I am in no way perfect at this, but I am doing my best and in turn seeing some very interesting and wonderful results. Find the place you are in and grow as you are planted.

Learn and love your own seasons.

Hold Fast Hope,
Joel William