An Offbeat Optimist's Guide
I’ve been dreaming of this moment ever since the day my car thermometer told me that it was 98 degrees in Boston. The first cool breeze of the season has finally blown in, and that means fall has arrived here in New England. Goodbye heat waves and humidity—you won’t be missed.
Now, it’s time for apple-picking on crisp days, pumpkins a-plenty, crunchy leaves underfoot, cool October nights, and haunted houses and happenings. It’s fall y’all, and it’s the best time of the year.
This wonderful season always seems to pass by in a flash—my one complaint is that as soon as I get comfortable in my hoodies, it’s time for another layer. So, to make fall feel slower this year, I’ve compiled a few ways to soak up every glorious moment of autumn awesomeness. It’s an offbeat optimist’s guide to focusing on the good stuff—but also the spooky stuff, the supernatural stuff, and the magic in the air.
This one’s obvious, but its importance can’t be overstated. If you complete only ONE fall activity this year, it must be this one! Drive out into the (relative) middle of nowhere to see the leaves in all their vibrant red and golden glory—it is simply sure to soothe your soul. Bonus points if you avoid the highway, take the scenic route, and happen upon a little farm-stand off the side of the road selling apple-flavored products of every kind.
Getting out into nature can help you to feel centered, peaceful, and present, even as the days get shorter.
Maybe it’s the sun setting earlier, the chilly night air, or the sound of crows cawing in the distance, but the shift in seasons rekindles with new intensity my interest in all things eerie, mystical, and unexplained. I love marinating in all the delightfully mysterious vibes with nightly spooky walks—they’re just like regular walks, only, well… spookier. For a walk to be spooky, you need only declare it so. My favorite way to spookify my regular post-work walk is to find a podcast to set the mood. Some great podcasts I’ve found for a pleasantly creepy vibe include:
Spooky walks are a great way to get outside in that amazing fall air, get some steps in, and make everyday errands just a little more fun (and frightful).
Now that your spooky walks have you looking over your shoulder at every snap of a twig, take it to the next level with freaky Fridays. If you’re at all into horror movies, (or if you’re like me, horror-lite movies), now is a natural time to do a deep dive. Grab your go-to Halloween candy and revisit the classics, like Halloween, The Blair Witch Project, or Scream (my favorites). Or, you could settle for something a little more wholesome, like Halloweentown, Beetlejuice, or Practical Magic (my other favorites). Either way, having a fun fall routine waiting at the end of every week can help you to unwind in an intentional way.
Speaking of unwinding, fall is the unofficial start of cozy season. Think rainy Sundays on the couch, flannel everything, soup simmering on the stove, and a mug of mulled wine. Paradise! Now all you need is the scent of freshly picked apples or pumpkin pie wafting through your living room to really complete the vibe. No occasion is too mundane to merit lighting an autumn-scented candle, and the act of choosing one and then mindfully enjoying the warm glow and nostalgic scent can help to keep you grounded in the present moment as you enjoy all that fall has to offer.