I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t gone straight from summer to Christmas. I have not taken complete leave of my senses.
I have, however, been pondering the seasons. And the passing of time. And the way the first day at the beach, or the first orange leaf, or the first tulip popping up through the snow can change us in a myriad of ways.
Recently, a good friend shared with me a video about the perception of time, and how it varies among people. Apparently, we humans are divided up into those who are past, present and/or future oriented, and this clearly affects how we live and enjoy our lives. One’s experience of time is reportedly greatly affected by geographic location, culture, religion and environment.
For instance, those who live closer to the equator (and therefore in warmer climates with rather consistent temperatures) were more likely to live, quite happily apparently, “in the present moment.”
This makes complete sense, and explains why people in southern Italy and most of Hawaii take three-hour lunches and say things like, “Yeah, man. Cool. I’ll call you back after I watch the moon rise.”
It also explains why people in the northeastern United States and northern Europe often look rather stern and say things like, “I’ll call you back after I dig my #&!@% car out of this snow pile!”
It’s not too far of a reach to guess that’s why we have ulcers, heart attacks and so many ailments that people in Fiji, for example, probably don’t contend with quite as regularly.
Upon viewing this video from my good friend, I felt an immediate desire to move to a warmer clime. Not Florida, but somewhere romantic and genteel. Someplace where I could lazy around and paint and write and not do much of anything more strenuous than peeling grapes and feeding them to my lover. Who would obviously be in a delightful state of constant semi-undress, due to the heat.
Being one of the closer-to-the-equator-present-oriented people on planet earth strikes me as much more attractive than being counted among those of us who are always thinking of the future – and shivering under our down comforters when an ice storm causes our power to go out in the middle of January and the thermostat in our living room registers a balmy 57 degrees.
You can see why someone might get a bit cranky after too many of those experiences.
Clearly, if you’re always preparing for the next season – making sure the lawnmower is in shape, or that your skis are waxed, or that you patched that hole in the roof before the spring rains fall – you need to be future-oriented to some extent.
But what would life be like without our beloved seasons? Isn’t change what makes life exciting? Is living in terminal sameness, like that movie, “Groundhog Day,” really the key to happiness?
The only time I’ve visited coastal southern California, I was with Drew. The first few days were blissful: sun, a nearly cloudless sky, a soft, sultry breeze. But by day number four, we were already waking up, pulling aside the curtains, seeing the same old same old, and thinking, “this is just plain wrong.”
What’s the fun in waking up when you already know what it’s going to be like outside?
Out to brunch one day, we noted a woman in a pair of UGG boots, a hat and sweater. The 72-degree temperature that day didn’t exactly warrant an autumnal wardrobe, but we realized people clearly had to do something to add excitement to their existence, even if it meant creating artificial, fashion-induced seasons.
Yesterday in the car, my 16-year-old son announced, “I’m so happy it’s almost the fall. I can’t wait to pick pumpkins and get my ski pass and for it to snow so I have a reason to be all cozy in my room.”
“Enough summer?” I asked.
“It was fun, but it’s time for a change.”
Perhaps one day I’ll tire of snowflakes. Maybe. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to be as present-oriented as possible – even though my location and my heritage are not working in my favor.
No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at irreverentwidow.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.