Having grown up alone with an older father, and married two men who were twenty years older than I (who often had friends even older than they), I have often spent my life with considerably older people, and discovered (to my dismay when I was very young) that older people have 3 favorite subjects of conversation: how well they slept the night before, how well their digestive systems are working, and the weather. I always found all 3 topics incredibly boring, but maybe I’m slipping over the edge now too. I’ve never had trouble sleeping and sleep very little (I don’t need more than 4 or 5 hours a night), my digestive system has always worked fine and I pay no attention to it (and find it an appalling topic of conversation), which leaves the weather. And I find that lately, I’m getting obsessed with that. I left Paris more than a month ago in gorgeous nearly summery weather, sat on terraces outside restaurants soaking up the sun during lunch wearing just a shirt, and headed back to New York, then California, and finally back to Paris ten days ago.  From warm sunny summery Paris, I landed in New York in chilly, rainy weather, grateful to have a warm coat with me, spent four days in Los Angeles, literally freezing, and in the pouring rain, headed to San Francisco for more of the same, and have been back in Paris for ten days of the worst cold rainy weather I’ve seen in years. It’s been in the 40’s and low 50’s everywhere, in all 4 cities, constantly raining, and EVERYONE is complaining about the weather. And what I’ve been discovering is how depressing it is, living in gray, cold, rainy weather day after day for a month or more, without a single day of sunshine to give one hope that spring is near. (And scientific studies tell us about some forms of depression coming from lack of sunlight. I can easily see why).

Interestingly, I’m not sure most people make the connection between the gloomy weather and their lives. I find that after all this bad weather, married women friends are complaining about their husbands, and how difficult and dreary they are, and even questioning their marriages and choice of mate. Unmarried ones are fighting with their boyfriends, children with their parents, everyone suddenly hates their jobs or their apartments, and I finally gave up wearing spring clothes, and climbed back into my dreary grays, somber blacks, or army greens. It really is depressing living with gray, cold, rainy weather day after day. I think it affects our mood, our outlook on life and everything seems so much worse when you’re cold and wet and haven’t seen the sun in weeks. And worse, I think we all think that our bleak mood is real, and don’t realize that we’re just suffering from a lack of sunlight, blue skies, and warmer weather. It seems obvious, but I really think that consistently bad weather really brings us down, and for some even causes serious bouts of depression. Of course a sunny day, or a string of them, will change of everything. Our partners will seem infinitely more agreeable and appealing, our children better behaved (even my dog is crabby and hates going out in wet weather in whatever city we’re in), our jobs will seem more tolerable again, our homes brighter with a splash of sunshine in them, and we’ll even look better when we look in the mirror (I’m so tired of my own pale face!!).

There’s not much you can do about bad weather, but I decided to declare war on this wintry spring a few days ago, and decided to pretend it was spring. Yesterday I wore bright orange, with matching high heeled sandals. A few days before, I wore screaming yellow (and probably looked like a canary or a banana, in a big bright yellow sweater), and today I wore red and royal blue (together). I just couldn’t stand looking so dreary anymore; I looked as depressing as the weather. And maybe I looked ridiculous all decked out for spring, but wearing ‘gloom gear’ wasn’t doing it for me either (my worst old sweaters with holes in them that I wear when i want to crawl into a corner or under the covers when I’m sad). And I find that I’m happier today, and people have commented on how cheerful it is to see someone wearing colour. I think at times like these, when everything seems ‘off’, it’s good to remember that a down outlook may just be because of the weather, your partner, job, kids and apartment may not really be so bad, maybe you’re all just sick and tired of lousy weather, and who could blame us. I hope it lets up soon, but until then, I think I’m going to try and remind myself that life isn’t as bad as it seems, the crappy weather won’t last forever, and if you see me wearing wild, crazy colors, you’ll know why!!! love, Danielle

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9 Comments so far
  1. Annie Douglas May 8, 2012 5:08 am

    I so agree with this! The Doctors call it SADD! YES IT IS!! LOL! I live in Northern Indiana and the weather here is so up and down and lately DOWN! My husband & I have (for the past 2 years) been taking our RV camper down to Bonita Springs, FL and LOVE IT DOWN THERE! Super sweet people and the past winter the weather was BEAUTIFUL!! Then we come “home” to Indiana and start up the wood stove and stay close! Maybe we need to stay longer in the Spring! I LOVE your stories and read them as soon as I can get them from the local library. Being retired in this economy one must use free resources where we can! Keep up the GREAT writing. Find some warm sunshine and soak it up!

  2. Mike Reid May 8, 2012 8:13 pm

    Hi Danny- how’s the weather? Just teasing ya- hahaha- I like the spring wardrobe- I didn’t relize that old men have three topics they always talk about- I think you’re right about all of this – especially the weather – I love the sunshine –
    I’m temporarily tied up on leave- I saw a couple of chauajas the other day that reminded me of minnie – cheer up the best is yet to come- mike

    Ps – more later

  3. Deborah Hammond May 9, 2012 7:28 pm

    So true, Danielle. I spent six months in Naples, FL, last year helping start a children’s museum there. The weather was beautiful 99% of the time. I am now back in grey/gray Indiana, my home state, and do not like the weather. Getting older (age 60 now) I would like to life where I love — but do not want to be an absent Grannah (my grandson, Declan is 2 1/2). Thanks for writing.

    -Deborah Hammond

  4. Terri May 15, 2012 9:18 pm

    You have the correct idea, Danielle! When I was a little girl I would run through the wet muddy playground underneath gray skies, and couldn’t wait to get in the house. I just blended right in with the dreary weather. Sunny days are what stands out. They steal the show, so to speak. But when my mother bought me a bright yellow pair of rain boots, and a bright red rain parka, I loved to run in the dreary, rainy weather. Why? Because I stood out. There’s nothing wrong with replacing the cold, wet, rainy filled days with yourself. To this day, I have the cutest pair of bright yellow rain boots in my closet that come up to my knees.

  5. alba May 19, 2012 10:51 am

    Hey! Danielle Steel, I don’t have fourty years old, but to me cold and darkness sky I like it to very much. Some people say me is because I’m fat, probably true, but… hahaha I love warm t-shirts, stay in my bed warmly. I love it, really, actually I feel more protect. Sounds weird but I love it.

  6. Saima Siddiqui May 21, 2012 2:03 am

    Hello Ma’am !I so love your books.. The lead characters of your books are so glamorous and attractive.I too am an aspiring writer,and you are my inspiration. Hope you can provide me with some good information on writing romance fiction. Have a good day !

  7. Katia May 24, 2012 3:14 pm

    You are so right I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL and it’s summer all year long, but this week the weather is crazy and it’s rainning every day OMG now I can feel how depressing it is a bad weather.

  8. Mike Reid May 24, 2012 6:05 pm

    Hi Danielle- where ya been? Haven’t heard from you for awhile!!!
    I’m still tied up temporarily- but that should be corrected soon. I was thinking about you & decided that you would love to hear this great album if you were hear- so I put ( Sinatra – Nothing but the Best) on. What a fabulous album – you’d love it.- Hahaha. This is true talent- nothing but the best – for a talented writer- your true friend mike- see ya soon!

  9. thackery May 28, 2012 3:56 pm

    Dear Ms. Danielle Steel,

    It’s been a long time to write to you. But I have been reading your novels like “Hotel Vendome”. now “Legacy” which attracted me very much. Because I am tracing my ancestors’ branches too. Just beginning to read it. Your novels are sort of a legacy for us, readers.

    Concerning weathers, your story and commentators’ reaction are very interesting. Right. Weathers cover us and make us feel happy or sad. It reminds me of the world depression which affects our life and in the worst case let people commit suicide. Nations should protect them and show bright colors for the future.

    Colors which we wear will affect us in both ways, happy or sad. I would like to make myself bright in color and contribute to making a happy world. Great thanks for your nice inspiring novels.


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    May 29, 2012