Seasons Change, But My Habits Don’t

10-9 Leaves

Greens fading into reds,

Yellows and oranges, too.

I feel a process-

A gradual, subtle shift

Spreading through the forest.

I marvel at this in-between time

Where summer daisies

Mingle with fall’s first signs.

A brilliant, aesthetic reminder

That each changing day is sublime.

10-9 Flowers


As I wrote this poem, I realized that sometimes I get so caught up in the day-to-day that I forget to stop and appreciate the beauty around me.  There are times when all I see are responsibilities- pay bills, clean house, nag remind kids to do homework, cook dinner, blah, blah, blah.

A hike in the forest has a way of changing my perspective.  I see how gracefully nature changes and it occurs to me that I should follow its lead.  Maybe the things weighing heavy on my mind don’t have to bring me down.  Maybe there is beauty in the mundane that my eyes refuse to see.  If I walk long enough, maybe, just maybe, a change in thinking will enlighten me that worries are the root of my blindness.

This is the pep talk I’ve been giving myself over the last week as I struggled with test anxiety.  Yeah, at my age, it still happens.  (So does acne, but that’s another post.)  This week, I’m facing a different kind of test with the same old school-age dread.  Mainly because I don’t feel like I’ve changed enough to be prepared.

It’s a test I can’t really study for, and at this late stage, my jog (okay half jog, half hobble) around the block each morning probably isn’t going to help much.  I doubt the avocado on my salad will counteract the chocolate frosted long john donut I ate earlier in the day.  And my anxiety just might spike my blood pressure.

My “test” is a health screening that my work does every year.  Failing will cost me $720 a year in higher health insurance premiums. No pressure here.

Last year, I had the same worries.  I went through the same last-minute, last-ditch efforts to be healthy.  I was elated and surprised when I passed all areas.  I celebrated with a bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies from the vending machine, ending my week-long effort to be healthy.

My brain understands healthy should be a year-round goal.  The problem is, my taste buds think they know better.  They are hedonistic and have no regard for clogged arteries or extra pounds.  My will power seems to have sided with my taste buds, leaving my brain in a fog of frustration (or perhaps it’s the crash after the sugar high?)

I’m hoping that by embracing change, like the seasons do, I can convince myself that an apple in its natural form (not sliced, spiced and baked in a flaky, golden pastry crust) is an adequate treat whether I pass the screening test or not.

Wouldn't an apple go better with chocolate, or ice cream - or peanut butter?
Wouldn’t an apple go better with chocolate, or ice cream – or peanut butter?

Seeing an apple as just an apple, not a pie, or a vehicle for eating peanut butter.  I can do this…

Change is hard.  I should take another walk in the forest.  While I’m there, I might see pigs fly.  Hey, it could happen.


The poem that starts off this post is a bit non-traditional and may disqualify it, but I’m going to attempt to link it to the weekly Yeah Write challenge, where bloggers submit their own personal essays or blog anecdotes (no fiction.)  Click the badge below to read other submissions, or even better- link your own!


42 thoughts on “Seasons Change, But My Habits Don’t

  1. suzicate October 9, 2013 / 10:57 AM

    Why can’t the sugary junk food just be good for you? It would sure make life a lot easier!

  2. nrhatch October 9, 2013 / 12:22 PM

    Well said, Janna. Often we KNOW what we “should” do . . . but we just don’t do IT (whatever IT is).

    Good luck with the test ~ hope you pass with flying colors. Pigs optional.

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 3:07 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! I’m crossing my fingers for flying colors, but not flying pigs 🙂

  3. Samantha Brinn Merel October 9, 2013 / 1:51 PM

    So right now all I’m thinking about is an apple spiced and baked in a flaky, golden, pastry crust…

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 3:08 PM

      Sorry about that, Samantha. I have a bag of farm grown apples on the counter and I’m one grocery store visit away from having the pie crust 🙂

  4. Zoe October 9, 2013 / 2:37 PM

    whats a long john? I thought they were winter underwear…good luck with the screening…

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 3:10 PM

      Thanks for reading, Zoe! A long john is a rectangle shaped donut. It’s like an eclair, but it isn’t filled.
      I added “donut” to the description in my post to clear it up for others who might be confused.

  5. Eric Alagan October 9, 2013 / 4:48 PM

    Life in nature changes (ages) gracefully – a lesson for us humans.

    All the best with that ‘test’

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 9:25 PM

      Thanks, Eric. Tomorrow is the big day 🙂

  6. wcdameron October 9, 2013 / 6:26 PM

    The only way I can stick to healthy eating is by setting goals, and those goals are typically events like going to Miami, seeing someone I haven’t seen in a while, you know times when you want to look good or have to be in a swimsuit.. Superficial I know, but it works. God forbid I ever lose my vanity, then I’ll just blow up to 400 pounds…

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 9:28 PM

      Hahaha! Vanity can be a good motivator. I guess I need to quit avoiding the swimsuit and set some goals 🙂

  7. Catherine Johnson October 9, 2013 / 6:51 PM

    A health test on your wallet gosh that’s so interesting. I’ve never heard of that before. Good luck then celebrate 😉

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 9:29 PM

      It’s something my company does, I guess to encourage people to be healthier. I don’t know if it really works or not, Catherine 🙂

  8. Randee October 9, 2013 / 8:11 PM

    I feel I could do so much better with my eating if only I could stroll through the woods on a daily basis.

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2013 / 9:31 PM

      I don’t get out there every day, either. Thanks for reading, Randee!

  9. GodGirl October 9, 2013 / 11:17 PM

    I hope the health test went just as well as last year. I totally understand those kinds of food rationales!
    Nature does have a lovely way of slowing us down, doesn’t it, and reminding us to go with the “gradual, subtle shift” of seasons, as you say. Great thoughts, and poem.

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:06 AM

      I actually passed (barely, on a couple of items, but still passing.) I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, GodGirl. Nature is God’s gift to us, if we just take time to accept it.

  10. Debbie October 10, 2013 / 7:29 AM

    That hit on the wallet would be sufficient incentive for me, Janna — ouch!! To avoid paying that steep a fee, I just *might* even be tempted to eat broccoli. Or Lima beans. Whaaa? No, I didn’t say that! But seriously, I’ve heard that if you can keep up something for a certain number of days (I don’t know how many — there are conflicting numbers), then you can swap a “bad” habit for a good one. Or so they say. Hope you pass!!

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:07 AM

      Hahaha, you’re funny, Debbie! I’ve heard about the number of days to make a habit (in school, we learned it was 21 days.) Too bad it only works for my bad habits, though 😛

  11. mamarific October 10, 2013 / 7:43 AM

    Wish I lived near your woods…I might put down this bag of m&ms!

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:08 AM

      Well, if you can’t put the bag down, would you share? 😛 Thanks for reading, mamarific!

  12. Tina October 10, 2013 / 9:50 AM

    I struggle every day with my weight, my health. Maybe I need a forest to walk in, too! I say this as I am stuffing my face with pretzels and chocolate. My taste buds overpowered my intellect, I swear!

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:11 AM

      It’s actually a little comforting to know I’m not the only one whose taste buds have hijacked good sense, Tina. Pretzels and chocolate…yum…

  13. Robbie October 10, 2013 / 11:29 AM

    I am always very motivated when I first roll out of bed to be healthy and my lunch time I lose my resolve. Hope you passed your test!

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:13 AM

      Thanks, Robbie! I’ve noticed that motivation (and good intentions) abandon me as the day wears on. I did pass, though it was really close on a couple of items. *Whew!*

  14. Natalie - The Cat Lady Sings October 10, 2013 / 3:06 PM

    That must be why I unconsciously (okay, okay, I was completely conscious) ate a mack ton of bread today. If I were lucky enough to have a forest to walk through instead of hundreds of square miles of urban sprawl, I might have a prayer at not emotionally eating quite so often…

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:15 AM

      Oh, I LOVE bread (especially with butter!) It’s funny because one of my counts was high and she mentioned it could be because of too many carbs. I didn’t make eye contact with her 🙂 Thanks for reading, Natalie!

  15. bethteliho October 10, 2013 / 3:29 PM

    Amen, sistah. I was just thinking this stuff today. (had to laugh out loud to your “so does acne but that’s another post” comment!!!) BTW, I do think apples are a vehicle for peanut butter dammit. They just ARE. And I may or may not have eaten an entire tub of hummus by myself this week…but I was dipping carrots so it’s okay, right??? And my carrots I mean pretzels. Lord help me this Winter….

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:19 AM

      Yay! Someone else who recognizes apples’ purpose 🙂 Carrots, pretzels…it’s all the same.

      Oh, and acne – don’t even get me started…acne should not happen on skin that has wrinkles!!

      Thanks so much for reading, Beth, and for your super-entertaining comment!

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:22 AM

      Thanks, Bjorn! It started out as just a poem, but then it got me thinking, and the rest of the post happened. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Lance October 11, 2013 / 8:30 AM

    I’m relating to this in ways you can’t realize. My habits aren’t changing either and it’s making me depressed.

    You poem is stunning. It hit me perfectly.

    • jannatwrites October 11, 2013 / 9:24 AM

      It does get depressing, Lance. For me, the failure sends me back for more unhealthy food, which is ironic because that’s what I’m trying to avoid and it only makes it worse…if any of that makes sense!

      I’m glad the poem spoke to you. That’s always a nice thing to hear 🙂

  17. pattisj October 13, 2013 / 10:28 PM

    Ouch–on the insurance premium. I hope you get good results on your test.

    • jannatwrites October 14, 2013 / 9:25 PM

      It was close on a couple things, Patti…but I passed. *Whew* 🙂

  18. ly October 14, 2013 / 5:31 AM

    The poem tells the fall story perfectly–my favorite season. But you ruined it with the reminder and nudge that I am more into the chocolate bar than the apple. I’m also coming up on yearly tests and in honor of that, I think I’ve gained a few pounds! At least my insurance premium is not connected–that’s too bad for you.

    • jannatwrites October 14, 2013 / 9:33 PM

      Feel free to ignore that reminder, Ly! Chocolate has some health benefits (and I choose to ignore the ‘in moderation’ caveat :)) Good luck on your tests.

  19. Imelda October 14, 2013 / 9:18 AM

    Hi, Janna. I am behind in reading. Life is a tad busy, I have trouble with schedule. I will catch up later. Have a great day. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 14, 2013 / 9:34 PM

      I understand, Imelda. I seem to always run behind as well – no worries 🙂

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