"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Good People Are Cold People

Winter has been grueling this year. I have always been a person who has said that I love the change of seasons but I have to say that if I am truthful, I think that's my Northern Michigan roots speaking out of pride. I think in my head that good, salt of the earth, energetic, humble, country girls who grew up in the ice and snow should take a certain amount of pride in the grueling grind of winter, in the flagging spirits of those around them and their own contrasting stubborn appreciation for the beauty of ice crystals and falling snow. I feel like a wiener admitting it but I long for sunshine and warm and green, green, green and I hold no special place in my heart for chunks of ice and falling snow.

It was 62 degrees outside today and I felt positively giddy, the last of the snow seemed like a silly joke and I really feel like I am going to make it. I rolled the windows down as we drove errands, hunted up the first crocus in the woods around the corner and felt like singing a Julie Andrews anthem. I love that we have made it to the other side, warm weather is actually going to start happening now, slowly but surely.

I also ordered a SAD light to mount over our computer keyboard for sunning outselves during the last few cold and dreary days. It is time to be honest. I don't think I am a cold weather person. This year, I told my husband after years of insisting that I could never live in a warm climate, "I think I love green and sunshine more than I love four seasons." We can always visit snow and ice. I can make ice cubes. Those I love will always live in chilly places. I just feel like I need the green and the warmth and the hope of sunshine. Maybe we won't be moving to California tomorrow, (I have a friend who lives in mortal fear of her friends moving away to warmer places.) but I'm open to it. After The Bahamas I decided that I totally could even live in a place that was tropical which seems like a silly admission but took a fair bit of vulnerability and guts.  I was raised to believe that strong, good people love the cold.

The notion of "should" is really powerful. I think I feel a lot of cultural/familial pressure to be attached to cold weather and feel personal pride in my toleration of it. But that's not the same thing as actually loving it. Truthfully, for who I am it seems like a kind of insanity to keep insisting on living in the land of the chilly. I get depressed and dry skinned and weepy, lethargic and drab and filled with ennui and try to hide it under a mask of should-laden Arctic identity connected to a vague notion of strength of character. Having my sister Lucy here has been emboldening. She's gotten so brave about her own love of warm and it took me a while to unravel the fact that I'm cut out of the same cloth. Its scary to admit it out loud but I think I'm a sunshine girl. I like warm. I like grass that never goes grey brown. I like flowers all year. I like water, not dry places. I like being able to open the windows whenever I want to. I like maple syrup but I don't have to actually make it myself. I like snowmen but don't find them essential to life. I can snow shovel if I have to but I'd really rather weed. I am from Michigan but my ancestors are from all kinds of other places and I'm me, not any of them. I love being able to be comfortably outdoors all year round and I love being honest.
The good people are not the cold people and the tough people and the deprived people and the people who live in more traditional ways but the people who live honestly, the people who give their bodies the things they need to be healthy, the people who are willing to try new things and those who live authentically even in the presence of "shoulds" galore.

What climate is really "you?" Where would you live if you had nothing to lose and all your dreams could come true?



  1. I'd definitely live in a tropical climate like Florida, although Dad's work is in Michigan, and our kids are in Michigan, and our home is in Michigan...so we won't be moving to some tropical paradise anytime soon. On the other hand, I kind of imagine that heaven will be a tropical paradise, so sooner or later I'm thinking I'll get there! :)

  2. I grew up in Texas and I know about myself that I hate hate HATE hot weather. When it gets above about 85°, I become very miserable, grouchy, complain-y, and negative. I don't know if it's just who I am, or if it is growing up for so much of my life with the miserable summer, but I have had my lifetime fill of really hot weather and would be happy to skip it indefinitely.

    I feel like the climate here in Utah is a pretty good fit for me, because there are four beautiful seasons (I think I'm being honest with myself when I say I really do like the change and shifting of real seasons). And my least favorite season here (summer) is not as bad as anywhere else I've lived -- not as hot or long as Texas, not as humid and devoid of central AC as Connecticut. On a good day, I will admit that the summers here are beautiful, as far as summers go.

    We have honestly considered moves to tropical-type locations (California, Hawaii) for jobs and decided against it every time. It wasn't totally the weather, but I do think we (more me than Rob, really) are not tropical people. I really do like snow (IT'S MAGIC) and too much sun is oppressive to me.

  3. I have longed for a temperate climate for quite a while...one that always hangs between 60 and 80. I agree that the snow and grey is hard. I struggle on the grey days and thrive on sunshiny days. It is that simple. Do I like this about myself? Not really. But knowing this has helped to identify when I will struggle and take steps to improve my situation. Or know that generally I will be able to pick myself out of my hole by the next day.