Have you noticed there are some seasons you like more than others?
I used to really enjoy the summer…I think.
Like most kids, as summer neared I was excited. I remember the sixth period bell ringing on the last day of school and how different I felt. It was as if my body sensed the change. I’d double-check that my locker was empty and walk the hallways as students threw papers in the air. It’s like the hall was buzzing with anticipation.
Having less daily structure for a few months was a nice change. I’d hang out with friends, stay up later at night, do more fun activities and generally, enjoy a slower pace from the school day routines.
But over time, I’ve noticed a slow, creeping change occurring. Subtle at the beginning, I’d sense an uneasiness through the summer months. I’d notice moments where I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin, my blood was racing so fast. I'd feel fidgety, restless and antsy. And those moments grew into longer moments. And even longer moments.
Then I found myself getting irritable much more often during the summer months. Peri-menopause is no companion to the heat, for sure! It took several snips and snaps at my kids before I realized the heat was really beginning to affect my behavior.
Hmmmm….so maybe I don’t like the summer?
Along with the heat came a sense of being stifled and stagnant. I feel tight, like I can barely breathe. Using the air conditioning to change the temperature only moderately helps the problem, because although it cools off the house and my body, it also compounds those feelings of oppression.
And the slower pace and lack of structure that was such a nice change so many years ago, now leaves me feeling anxious. Summer is also a slower time of the year for work, which contributes to my distress. My husband and I find ourselves waiting out the months so we can get back to the busyness and routine of our lives.
Uh, so, no. I guess I really don’t like the summer.
So what’s a girl to do?
To start, I can learn how to accept the benefits of using the air conditioner. Even though I was raised in Florida, my parents rarely used our air. And when they did it was for a very special occasion. As a result, I feel guilty using our air conditioning. I’ve paired cooling our house down with indulgence; and indulgence equals bad. That’s a powerful awareness because it resonates with one of my key misinterpretations: that self-care is selfish and bad. So with that awareness, I can now forgive myself for buying into the belief that taking care of myself is indulgent and bad. Next I remind myself of the truth: as I take care of myself, I am better equipped to take care of those I love around me. And spending a little extra money to use our air conditioning will ultimately serve us all.
Second, there’s a judgment present that I’m silly (dumb, stupid) because I like structure and routine. That’s also a very familiar voice- the one that whispers “Look around, everyone’s so chill and you’re all uptight having to stick to a routine because it makes you more comfortable.” Yeh- it’s not such a pleasant voice. To temper that voice I remind myself that I also appreciate times where routines fall by the wayside. So some forgiveness around these beliefs and positive self-talk would also serve me.
And third: so what if I don’t like Summer? Who really cares anyway? Because the truth is, we are all unique, Spiritual beings and call these experiences to us to deepen our connections with our selves and Spirit. And it’s really ok to not enjoy something that many others do!
So today I’m going to sit back and enjoy a guilt-free scoop of vanilla (YEP!) ice cream!
I had a wonderful few moments recently as I watched my boys playing in a swimming pool. I sat back in my chaise lounge, took a deep breath, noticed how fresh the air was (I was in San Diego!) and had the thought, “Wow, this is nice.” Shortly after, I went back inside to enjoy the air-conditioned rental house!
I’m open to many, many more moments like that.