2. the days between.

I’ve long since given up on strictly following the monthly NaBloPoMo writing prompts — hell, this summer, I’ve mostly given up on posting at all — but as I try to come up with a post a day during October, the NaBloPoMo folks have come up with a good one.

Between.

Fall — and October in particular — is my favorite time of the year. My birthday has something to do with that, but there’s actually much, much more. I love how fall looks, and how it smells. I love how the air feels — on Friday, when it really started to cool off for the first time, I smiled all day long. I love what we do — it’s the heart of college football season, the food, the beer, being outside in the sharp, clean air. I love the season, and I especially love this month.

But I also have a deep appreciation for what this time of year does for me every year. Something turns in my brain, and it leads me to think about where I am, what I’m doing and what my place in the world is. I seek out the things that lead to introspection — I try to always take a day off on my birthday, and I use that time to get outside, by myself, and take a look around, literally and figuratively. It takes me outside. It takes me to a particular kind of music.

I turn 45 in 10 days. That’s the very definition of between, right? I don’t feel old — although I get the pains you’d expect with people of my age a little more often than I used to — but I don’t exactly feel young, either. What have I done with my life to this point? What’s left? Have I done right by my wife? My family? My friends?

For me, New Year’s is mostly for fun. This is the time of year — between warmth and cold, between green leaves and bare branches, between years on my personal calendar — when I think about who I am. Like the air outside, it’s not always comfortable — but it’s when I feel most alive.

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