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Lori Bryant Woolridge

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The Rise of Fall

Posted: 10/31/11 04:38 PM ET

Last weekend, I traveled to Massachusetts with my family. It was a four-hour drive from my home in New Jersey and to be perfectly honest, I was not looking forward to the trip. But then we got off the New York Thruway and started down several two lane, county roads.

Can I tell you, it proved to one of the most delicious servings of eye candy I've had in a long time. Between the blue sky, flame colored leaves, the crisp fall air and every now and again the whiff of burning wood, topped off with my favorite iPod playlist, this trip had become a truly sensory delight.

I was in complete awe as I took in all of this breathtaking loveliness, that is until I heard my daughter's words, "The leaves really do get prettier as they get older." To which my husband added, "It's too bad they look the best right before they're going to die."

I didn't say anything because I was in my seat thinking, 'I'm like those trees -- vibrant, colorful, and beautiful standing out among the evergreens.' I didn't verbalize my thoughts because one, they wouldn't understand, and two, this was a deep and important 'ah ha' moment. It was a quiet declaration that I needed to acknowledge and internalize in order to fuel my fabulosity into this next stage of my life.

I'm three years into my 50s now, and though I've been pretty cool about it, I've had my moments of thinking, 'damn, I'm old,' and questioning my feminine relevancy. Well, this past weekend, among all that lovely fiery foliage, I made peace with the fact that I am indeed in the autumn of my life. And you know what? I'm totally fine with it.

True my body is now beginning to have more in common with my senior mother than my teenage daughter, and true I've had to reduce my four-inch heel time from 'all day, everyday' to 'time on the cocktail circuit,' but those spring chicken accouterments pale in comparison to the bevy of beautiful smarts I've garnered through these first two seasons of my life.

My leaves may not be that young, fresh-to-the-world, green any more, but that's okay, my spirit is and that's what keeps me full of curiosity and feeling adventurous. And my limbs may be a little less spring like, but they're still bursting full of character and uniqueness. I don't have to hide in the forest anymore because I'm uncertain of who I am or what the world may think of me. I stand out among the trees because I am comfortable in my colorfulness and gorgeous sense of self.

That's the great thing about being grown and fabulous flora: With age comes wisdom and the confidence of knowing that being yourself can never be wrong. And being the fine fall foliage I am, I am not about to get caught up in the 'if I only knew then what I know now' regret. I'm going to look back on the spring and summer seasons of my life and bid them a fond farewell, relish the memories I can remember, and take everything I know to create some absolutely scandalous, girl-can-you-believe-I-did-that-wouldn't-change-a-thing, new memories.

So, my fellow fall femmes, you know that saying "Can't see the forest for the trees?" Well, that's us. We're those trees, busy living our colorful and vibrant autumns out loud while the rest of the forest stands back, green with envy!

 
 
 

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