I love my birthday. Not for cake or celebrations or presents or plans. I love my birthday because it’s a day for me to look at how far I’ve come and where I want to go. It’s my day. It’s the start of my year. It’s new chapter of my life.

Only a few months into to 25, I knew I wanted 26 to be a big year. For some reason, 26 carried this weight. Early on, I had a feeling that 26 would somehow be significant. A meaningful year.

To mark what I hoped and assumed would be such a momentous year, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. What could be more fitting (or more crazy) than to run 26 miles only weeks after I turn 26? And in my favorite city at that! In December 2016, with nine months notice, I was locked in as a first-time marathon runner.

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Commodore Perry

Every year as autumn approaches, there’s a sense of excitement and tension in the air. It’s more than the changing leaves, the cooler air, the anticipation of the season.

It’s a feeling that started at a young age when the school year was looming, and one that hasn’t quite gone away as I’ve grown into adulthood. The feeling that the wheels are starting to turn, that the speed of life is about to pick up a bit, and that you better hold on tight so you don’t fall off the tracks.

It’s my favorite time of year, but it’s here and gone in a flash. If you don’t take time to stop amidst the chaos – pause for a moment, breathe in the fall air, enjoy time with friends, appreciate this season of life – suddenly the cold sets in, winter comes and autumn has passed you by.

This year, I welcomed fall with the ultimate pause.

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