I am thankful for fall, for the first time...

This year's kick off guest thankfulness post comes from my alumni student, Katarina "Kat" Schultz. Kat is a talented writer and brilliant thinker. I am happy social media has enabled us to reconnect. I am also thrilled to share this post with you. 

This year is the first time I've truly enjoyed fall.
In the past it's been nothing more than depressing. The leaves turn brown and pile on the sidewalks. What many consider their favorite season was bleak to me. A preamble to the Season of Death. 
But this year it's different. 
Instead of feeling heavy as the number of useful daytime hours shrinks, I smell the vibrancy of the entire season in the air. Instead of focusing on all the brown, I am seeing a million different colors as if for the first time. The colors still fade and more leaves drop with each passing day, but that's okay. I'm no longer clinging to something that can't ever stay. And in this terribly cliche season, I am truly thankful for something for perhaps the first time in my life. I am thankful for change. 
For me, change has been a battle hard-fought. For years I tried to stop time itself, and when I was finally willing to move on I had to fight to overcome my worn-in habits. But here I am, moving inch by inch forward, finally able to appreciate the reds and oranges and yellows and pinks. Without change I'd be six feet under. Instead, I'm 5'6" above the earth's crust and strong enough to hold my head high. 
This fall I've joined a dance group, performed in my university's major cultural expo, successfully met many new people, and gone to my first party ever (wincing for the entire hour I was there). I can't even express how far this deviates from my norm. I am more than a few toes outside my comfort zone. And it's all thanks to the bizarre elasticity of the human mind. I was heading down a path of utter self-destruction and made a 180 with nothing but a supportive environment and sheer force of will. I am grateful that my mind was able to go from half-empty to half-full, and that there is no such thing as permanence. 
Without the incredible capacity for change that comes with being human, I'd never have been able to see the beauty in a chilly Fall day.

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This post is part of our 2013 Thankfulness Series. If you are interested in contributing,  please email me at kathrynfweaver@gmail.com.

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