I love when autumn awakens with crisp morning air that remains until evening falls into a cool, biting night. I love when those days fall on the weekend and are accompanied by beautiful azure skies that contrast with the burnt-orange foliage. My weekend was imperfectly perfect, just like these autumn days. Where – when you look closely at the beautiful contrasting leaves – you see that they aren’t really orange anymore and have begun to decompose.
Friday I woke up with a buzzing mind and anxious limbs. I set out early to tick off all the boxes on my to-do list. Homework, morning lecture, and a list of errands so long I didn’t know how it could all be done.
One by one, each box was ticked until I was back home. Both excited and exhausted, I waited for my housemates to get back and share a fun surprise with them. Stranger Things season 2 was released on Netflix that day and we were all anxious to jump back into the storyline.
Upon seeing an advert for a clothing line paying homage to our favorite tv show, I added “buy matching t-shirts” to my to-do list that day. When I ran to the shop in between more pressing errands, I was taken back by the amount of Stranger Things enthusiasts that flocked the isles surrounding the novelty clothing.
As I combed through each rack, I thought of the individual styles of my roommates before choosing the perfect match. It made me happy to think of them dressed in limited edition fan-wear whilst diving back into the much-anticipated series. I looked forward to talking over the new plot line and getting answers to our burning questions.
Beth’s jumper spoke to me first with a vintage print stitched together with superior quality fabric. With her birthday one week away, I decided to hit two birds with one stone. Beth would get the best jumper and Karen and I would get awesome t-shirts. A win-win all around.
After asking management to undress a mannequin for the very last Stranger Things inspired graphic t-shirt in London (possibly everywhere), I all but ran to the cash register with an absurd fear that someone was going to snatch the last t-shirt away from me. The fear didn’t subside until I carried my treasures safely home.
Barely able to contain my excitement, I showed Beth her jumper as soon as she walked through the door. The girls were happy and so gracious with their thanks. We donned our new gear and our comfiest pajama bottoms to watch the first episode. And 8 episodes later – around 3 AM – I headed off to bed.
Morning came with more energy than anticipated after our night of binge watching almost the entire series. Still in our awesome fan get-up, we congregated into our cozy living room to finish the final episode on the film projector while eating waffles. With messy hair and the smell of maple syrup wafting through the house, we hit play to conclude the latest season only 24 hours after its release.
There is a certain nostalgia born from coming of age films, especially those that emphasize the wonder of childhood bonds forged through adventure. After being transported to the 80’s through the set design and story of Stranger Things, I started remembering long-forgotten moments of my childhood; simple moments of innocence and uncomplicated joy.
I remembered little things like snuggling into my parent’s big bed to watch The Wonder Days while my mom fondly commented on the similarities between her own childhood. I remembered my little limbs tucked warmly into big, puffy coats and lace trimmed socks that were carefully folded over bulky, white tennies.
I remembered back to the days when my mustache-wearing dad called trainers “tennies” and had an orange bag in the back of his closet that was filled with relics of his past life as a white belt in karate; a short-lived hobby of his youth. I remembered my dad being the strongest man I knew and hanging on his bicep while he flexed in the kitchen.
I remembered my mom’s puff paint sweatshirts that were fashionable evidence that she was enthusiastic about being a mother; With each of her children carefully detailed in colorful paint across the chest of her white jumper. She was a true Beverly Goldberg.
I remembered over the top homemade Halloween costumes, themed birthday parties, and our awesome family van that existed many years before “mini vans” would grace us with seat belts and practical size. I remembered the smell of candles burning and clean, wood floors that would greet me as I came home from school. I remembered warm ovens and roast dinners and splashes in the pool.
For a moment this weekend, I stepped back in time. I remembered the joy found in those simple pleasures. I remembered how life could feel so full and incredibly thrilling without being constructed and manufactured. If I could go back to a time before the internet, mobile phones, and social media for just a day – if I could know all my friend’s phone numbers by heart and wind the cord around my fingers as I chat by the receiver, if I could sit at the family table next to plates of piping hot roast on Sunday afternoon, or make my way home to mom and dad when the street lights came on – if I had the chance do it all again, I would.
As I pass by the fading autumn foliage throughout this next week, I hope I remember to pause and be fully present. I hope I study the details and take mental images of the small things around me – to listen intently and speak truthfully. I hope, when the true autumn of my life is fading away, I am able to look back at where I am now with fondness, nostalgia, and a grateful heart that I soaked up every moment I could while it was happening.