Driving to work on Nov. 1, the sky was grey, a quilt of clouds that stretched out across the landscape, with soft rain adding weight to the fallen leaves so they wouldn’t blow across my path. Mondays. Whether you love what you do, or just do what you do because you have to, Mondays can be full of trepidation. Routine. Responsibility. Running late.

I was in a mood. The weekend ended too soon. I didn’t get nearly enough done on my to-do list. It seems I am never caught up on all the little things that make the big things run smoother. It’s like this ever-growing list of things that topples me, alongside an awareness that I need to actually make time to do things for myself.

I have friends who seem able to do all of these things: bake fancy treats, cook up elaborate meals, keep clean, organized homes and exercise in matching athletic attire. I don’t relate. At all. I’m not even sure how these people are my friends. Seriously.

Never mind, I promised I wouldn’t compare my life to anyone else’s. Too many variables. The grass is never greener. Still, I was driving to work Monday morning pondering why I am a failure at life.  I’m kidding – sort of.

That is my default mindset caused by a sinking feeling of claustrophobia in my life.

I realize I’m in charge of this feeling. I realize I can control very little else in my life, except my reaction to whatever happens. I’m a fortunate person and I have enough of what I need. I get that. Believe me, I’m grateful. But I just wish I could keep up with my own expectations of it all.

As I turned down a side street, a squirrel darted onto the road, stopped halfway, sat up, looked at my oncoming car, twitched his tail and did a split-second decision dance. Run left or dodge right?  Determining his point of origin was the wisest choice, he pivoted and darted quickly to the safety of the curb and the garden beyond it.

I found myself amused by the empathy I felt for that indecisive squirrel. I understood him. On so many levels, we were one.

November is like that squirrel and I; caught between the beauty of October’s optimism and the insanity of December’s holiday hyperactivity, while facing oncoming traffic sure to mow us down if we don’t get out of our own way.

Shorter days. Colder nights.  Watching people I care about struggle with things I cannot save them from. The full range of emotions that Remembrance Day evokes, and my frustration that it isn’t a national holiday. Zero merriment for the commercial push for a holiday that begins far too early for me. Holding me together, faith buried under the weight of those rain-soaked leaves. November.

Just as I finished that cheerful thought, I saw the clouds break ahead, uncovering blue crayon coloured skies. In my rearview mirror, little pockets of blue. A big ceiling above me.

Perspective, like moods and rain clouds, can shift as fast as a squirrel changes its mind. And just like that, I was reminded to change my own.

This weekend, we turn back the clocks and check the batteries on smoke and CO alarms. Let’s do the same for ourselves. Fall back into comfort and recharge yourself. Please.

WriteOut of Her Mind