The Major Things I Learned From the Saddest Fall Season of My Life

To know me is to know I love fall.

I've been truly obsessed with the season since the days when a Pumpkin Spice Latte was simply a seasonal item you could purchase off a menu—not a three-word term that's been condensed into an acronym you wear proudly on a T-shirt; since before the word "basic" meant what it means today; and since before everyone declared fall the best season of the year.

Yes, I'm totally going to be that girl when I say I truly, genuinely craved fall more than any time of year way before everyone else did.

But for me, it's not at all about the commercialized hoopla that accompanies the season. To be honest, I've probably sipped maybe three "PSLs" in my lifetime. I can take or leave Halloween. Pumpkin pie is among my least liked desserts. And scary movies don't even scare me.

For me, fall is so much more about renewal. Growing up, I always associated it with a new year. The season began right around both the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the new school year. Everything around that time always felt so fresh. Regardless of where I was on the map, the air felt so much more crisp. I always loved the breezier days and shorter nights. It was such a special time for me. You have summer, which is scorching hot and all about making vacation plans. You have spring, which is the prelude to summer. You have winter, which is great, but there's so much pressure to make holiday and NYE plans—and depending on where you are, the weather can be unbearable.


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It officially feels like fall – FINALLY 😍🍃🍂

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Fall is like the one time of year in which everyone can finally chill for a few months. With the exception of Halloween, this season is a pretty low-pressure time. Sure, there's Thanksgiving, but the beauty of the holiday is even if you can't spend it with family, a Friendsgiving is never too hard to find.

I guess another reason why my associations with fall are so positive is because I'd never experienced a bad one. I used to feel the same way about summer (for different reasons), but once I graduated college and experienced the real world (aka no annual 10-week vacations), the appeal of the season faded fast. Fall, on the other hand, was the calm reprieve I could always anticipate, regardless of the months that led up to it. The season put me in an instantly better mood, and I noticed people were nicer and happier in general during this time of year.


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Heavenly skies #nofilter #fall #october #beverlyhills

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Bring on My One Sad Fall

That all changed for me in 2014. The previous few months leading up to fall marked a low point for me. There was a lot of personal transition and change in my life—and dealing with it was challenging. I did my best to partake in fun activities (and yes, there were quite a few) and make the most of my opportunities, but the struggle was very real.

When the fateful date of Sept. 22 rolled around, I thought that, magically, everything would fall into place. Spoiler alert: it didn't.

It was one of those freezing cold days with the sun beaming down brightly, up until nighttime came. I don't know why, but that sunny-cold combo always puts me at the opposite of ease. Not to mention, one of my best friends and I had a huge fight the day prior and were still dealing with the aftermath. I didn't know, at the time, that this would set the tone for such a sorrowful season.

As the fall days began to go by, there were some highlights—and at the very least, I had my annual fall party to look forward to in the middle of October. It made me happy that I had a huge turnout and people were genuinely excited to attend. Deep down, I was still dealing with a lot of internal stuff, but on the surface, I was excited for one carefree night of fun. And while the party was nothing short of a success, what followed was pure emotional anguish.

 

The Domino Effect of Sorrow

The following day, a toxic "friend" I had at the time (I actually forgot about her until writing this post) tried to sabotage my relationship with my then-roommate. I did absolutely nothing wrong in this situation, and this girl made up a complete lie, therefore causing my roommate to explode at me. I was already in a fragile state to begin with, and this put me over the edge—not only because of the fight, but because this crazy girl went out of her way to destroy me, when all I'd ever been was a good friend to her (not to mention, she wasn't even friends with my roommate!).

I was really upset in the days the followed, but tried to keep myself busy with work. I had a side project I was working on, that I could only complete from my personal computer. I went to continue along with the project (which I only had a week left to complete), only to find that my computer wouldn't turn on. What the heck?! I brought it to the Apple Store, where I was informed that there was water damage. The last bit of use my computer got was at my fall party. There were three girls using it (with my permission) in my bedroom—one of them was the toxic girl, who I swear to this day was responsible for the mishap. What was I thinking?! I left my computer with the technicians and hoped for the best. I'd know in two days if the computer could be repaired.

The moment I received the horrible news that my computer had permanent water damage, I broke down in the middle of The Grove, a heavily populated shopping landmark in Los Angeles. I had no idea what I was going to do. This was my only personal computer. I spent my evenings the remainder of the whole week at the public library, where I completed as much as I could in the two-hour span they allowed us to use the computers. Mind you, I don't know what your public libraries are like, but the clean and neighborly vibe I got from libraries as a kid transformed into a tissue-ridden germ hazard. It was beyond gross. I was stressed out of my mind.

I finally got my project finished (phew!), but I was in no way prepared for what I was about to face next.

Once the project madness died down, I called my parents to check in and see how my dad's high school reunion went. My mom answered in her characteristically chipper tone, telling me they had such a great time. The conversation quickly then turned to, "Your grandma is dying, Dahvi. She is in hospice. You should get a flight out here tonight if you want to say goodbye."

My grandma was in her mid-eighties. Sure, her memory faded a bit in the last few years, but there were no signs of ill health on the horizon. This was seemingly out of nowhere. I hadn't spoken to her in a couple of months. We used to speak once a week. I certainly didn't feel guilty, because she knew how much I love her—we were incredibly close—but of course I would've liked to recently be in touch. I had all these emotions, and not just my own. I felt bad for my mom, who was dealing with such a devastating loss.

The weather was that annoying sunny-cold again, and everything just came crashing down. In between booking a last-minute flight to Boston, I had to figure out how to borrow someone's laptop. Luckily, a girl who I just became friends with was kind enough to offer up her old one. I hate taking people up on offers (especially if I don't know them well), but I was in a major bind. Oh, and my car was in the shop at this point, too, so I had to Uber to her place, pick up the computer, quickly pack (for who knows how long) and jet off to the airport.

I'll never forget that travel experience. It was the longest, most anxiety-ridden flight (and layover, if my memory serves me correctly) of my life. I was so stressed out. I was sad, I wasn't hopeful, and, on top of that, Halloween was just a few days away and I had no plans. I know, that'really dumb, but yes, that was the tip of the iceberg. People in L.A. go crazy about Halloween, and I was feeling very down about it for the first time in so many years. Given my current mindset, I wanted a social holiday like that to cheer me up.

I eventually got to Boston, and felt relieved and comforted to be with family. If there was any season to say goodbye to my grandma, this was the one I'd want it to be. Her farewell was oddly therapeutic, and I felt a sense of peace and acceptance when we let her go.


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Seeking solace amid chaos… #fall #leaves #framingham #massachusetts #eastcoast #serenity

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That said, the moment of solace quickly dissipated when I got back to L.A. I went out very briefly for Halloween festivities, but the night ended early, and I left to do nothing but stress-cry as I could hear the legions of partygoers gallivanting on the streets below. It was awful. This instance is what spurred my now-strong distaste for Halloween.

The awful feelings continued all through November. I kept telling myself I was riding a wave of "suckiness." It was bad… until, suddenly, it wasn't.

 

Things Slowly Take a Turn for the Better

Come the end of the month, it was back to Boston I went—but not for any sad or stressful reasons. I was going for a week to simply enjoy Thanksgiving with my family and embrace the beautiful fall weather that made me fall in love with the season in the first place. For the first time in months, I felt like I was headed to a safe space, with a healthy mindset.

The trip to Boston was everything I could have asked for and more. It was every bit the recharge I needed. I lounged around and frolicked through the brisk air, happily plowed through snow and shockingly came back to L.A. with a clear head. As I began to feel positivity surge through my veins for the first time in what felt like forever, other positive things started to come my way.

The last few months had been rough, but I learned a couple things from my sorrowful experience. Getting out of your usual surroundings is key. Breathing in the east coast air was a game changer. The energy just felt so different. Obviously, it's easier said than done to just hop on a plane and venture off somewhere, but even a drive to a different city in your own state, or a train ride somewhere will help clear your head. Even if we are genuinely happy in our environment, it can bog us down with negative or chaotic energy that piles up over time. Just stepping out somewhere, anywhere, peaceful and different, will provide the recharge you need.

And going back to the whole law of attraction thing… It took me a long time to believe in all of that, but it was at this point that I really started to understand the idea that what you put out is what you draw back in. The negativity was like a domino effect for me. It felt neverending, until something changed and I began putting out positive vibes. It's hard to force ourselves to suddenly be in a happy state when nothing seems to be going our way, but I think changing at least one thing about your surroundings or routine can help restructure your mindset. Removing one thing can let in something else. It really is all about energy and we only have so much to give.

I returned from Thanksgiving on the first day of December. The rest of that month was a major shift from everything that led up to it. I got involved with a philanthropic organization, work was bustling in the most fun of ways, I temporarily took on women's Crossfit (see next photo—and side note: never again!) and New Year's Eve (and the week leading up to it) could not have been more fun. After all the hardship, I made it a goal to focus on a really strong January, and it ended up being one for the books.


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Me … After some serious @pinkiron brutality. Toughest workout in a while. #cardiofordays #ahhhhh #hungry #pinkiron

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Even during the toughest of times, you have to remember that nothing (good or bad) lasts forever, and that, to some extent, you are in control of your feelings and destiny. Knowing what I know now, I could have shifted my energy. But in the end, I'm glad I experienced the pain, because it only helped me grow as a person.

I can't wait for fall this year, and I already have a strong feeling good things are on the way!

 

There's no better feeling than getting through a really tough time. Click HERE to find out how to recover from an awful year of high school.