We’re freshly returned from an amazing adventure in the UK, gallivanting across the Scottish Highlands and then down to London and its beautiful surrounding villages.
It was a beautiful trip, filled with magical memories and, very surprisingly, stunningly gorgeous weather. Apart from a couple of cold and wet days in Edinburgh (which might be one of my favourite cities ever?), it was warm and sunny everywhere we went, which the Scottish people assured us was unusual and a gift from the gods. In fact, it was so warm that I only remembered I’d left my jacket behind after going through airport security at Heathrow. #oops
Back here at home, though, June has so far been a hilarious experience of all four seasons, boomerang-ing around inside the space of a day, or even mere hours (minutes?).
I’ve picked outfits to match the gorgeous spring sunshine, only to swap it out for cosy sweatpants and turn the fireplace on. In mid-June!
“I can’t believe it!” she remarks. “This weather is so crazy! I don’t remember it being this cold and wet this time last year.”
Narrator: She said the exact same thing this time last year and pretty much every year before that.
I notice my excitement when it’s bright and sunny and my disappointment and frustration when it’s anything but.
To be fair, a lot of people are saying that Spring has been taking her sweet time this year. I think it’s a La Niña year and that means it’s cold and wet? Though, to be fair, I think we say the same thing when it’s an El Niño year, too, so I’m not sure we really understand global weather patterns all that well.
However, regardless of our limited climatological knowledge, I seem to recall this same conversation every year:
“Wow! Spring has sure come early!” This joyful consensus, as we recount to our friends the cherry blossoms we photographed (for proof!) in February, tends to be followed mere weeks later by, “Boy, Spring sure is slow to roll out this year! It’s the coldest May I remember,” and then, “Sure is a cold June-uary this year.”
And so on and so forth for all the seasons, forever.
I mean, ultimately, the weather’s going to do whatever it’s going to do. It’s under no obligation to meet my wardrobe-based preferences or do what it did last year or convey itself in any particular pattern that matches our feeble memory of recent meteorological history.
What I notice, in myself mostly, but also in others, is the expectation that the weather do what I want it to do, or believe is normal or right.
I notice how the weather impacts my experience of the day, right from the moment I look out the window. Or rather, I notice how I allow it to influence my experience of the day. I’m at the effect of the weather: my inner state is, to some degree, a victim to my outer circumstances, weather-related or otherwise.
Now, I’m not suggesting that I need to make myself wrong for this habit, because I think it’s very human to comment on the weather and to have preferences, and to wish that our preferences be met accordingly.
I am saying that I’m officially tired of making myself wrong for having very human habits. I am, after all, a human. Decades of pathologizing my humanity has yet to lead to any great improvement in myself or my experience of life, so I’ve decided to give it up as an unrewarding hobby.
I do, however, think it might be worth noticing how this very normal, very human tendency leaves us feeling and experiencing life in general. Do I feel brighter, happier, more comfortable or even neutral about what is happening outside of my locus of control? Probably not. Usually, I feel frustrated, worried and negatively impacted by circumstances over which I have no control, which, in turn, leaves me feeling helpless, powerless and even more frustrated about myself and my lack of agency.
It’s almost like maybe it’s not worth it to allow myself to get really concerned with external factors that, like the weather, are going to be what they’re going to be, regardless of how I feel about the matter.
I may not be able to control my initial, very human reaction, but I can definitely control the thoughts and choices that come afterwards, including choosing to let go of the things I can’t change and focus instead on the things that I can: my choices, my thoughts and where I focus my attention.
It’s worth asking ourselves whether we truly require more opportunities to be frustrated by things we can’t change, or whether we might be able to change the way we think when we’re looking out the window, literally and figuratively speaking.
It might sound cheesy, but maybe it actually is about not waiting for storms to pass, but instead learning to enjoy dancing in the rain?