Historically, the summers are not reliably hot (or even warm) where I live. With climate change, we have had much warmer summers for the last ten to fifteen years, but it still usually doesn’t get “hot” here. This week, it has been miserably hot. Unless I have air conditioning, ample outside shade, and (ideally) a pool, I hate really hot weather. I grew up mostly in the inland part of the Los Angeles area in California, so I am familiar with hot weather. Having escaped it as an adult, however, it is hard to go back.
But, like with so many things, there’s a silver lining. The hot weather plus some unusual weather patterns have created another freak occurrence here: crazy thunder and lightning storms! Now, I LOVE thunder and lightning, and we rarely have it. The other night, I was suddenly awakened at 3:15 a.m. (no, I have not been boozing!) by the craziest lightning show I have ever seen. Lightning was striking every few seconds sometimes, and I could see it clearly through the windows and skylight in my bedroom. It was amazing! And, it sounds like it might happen again.
This isn’t a new thought, but sometimes I forget that silver linings are all around us if we look for them. For example, if I hadn’t stopped regular, heavy drinking last November, I would be more afraid for my health during the pandemic, spending ridiculous amounts of money on booze, and trying to home school and work from home tired and a little hungover most days. As it is, I’m getting some meditation and yoga in, staying more present for my daughter, and having less conflict with family and friends. Obviously, there are some situations where it is healthy to just let yourself feel sad or to embrace your anger, and I’m not suggesting that we ignore/suppress those feelings. For me, though, I think when it is possible (and reasonable) to focus more on the positive than the negative, it helps. Our minds are such tricky things.
To a certain degree, I think I am predisposed to look for the positive in things, and I am grateful for that gift. At the same time, I have more baseline anxiety than most people, and this obviously can get in the way. I know now that drinking can leave me mired in anxiety, and I feel better when I avoid it. Although I have drank alcohol sometimes over the last several months, I am proud of myself for not falling back into my old ways. I won’t go back there, and I am happy to be on stable, sober ground again. It feels great.
Ms. New Leaf