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