It’s the start of a cool, rainy week (or two). I’m luxuriating in the dark dreariness, celebrating it with a large coffee swirled with dulce de leche and two squares of dark chocolate. My mouth, hot from the scalding coffee, turns the hard chocolate into velvet sweetness in mere seconds.
At the same time, I’m steeling myself for all the unpleasantness that is bound to come with the low clouds and wet air: mountains of laundry that get larger by the minute as we wait for a sunny few hours, dark moods from lack of sun therapy, hyper children with nowhere to blow off steam, lack of exercise and the heavy feeling that comes with it, a spike in the garden’s already booming weed crop.
The cool, wet weather makes me realize how much I really do like summer.
The funny thing is, winter’s not here yet, and since fall is my favorite time of the year (except for when it rains excessively) I ought to be loving it up one side and down the other instead of getting my panties in a twist ‘cause winter’s on its cozy way. Silly me, getting bent out of shape over something that hasn’t even happened yet.
So often, enjoyment is dampened with dread of what is to come. If I eat these nachos now, I’ll wish I hadn’t in the morning, you know? It’s hard to live in The Now. I do not do it well.
One could argue that my ability to see the flip-side of any situation, both good and bad, is a sign of maturity. Or, maturity aside, that I have a knack for seeing the big picture. There are certainly pros to this. When I’m in a funk or the garden overwhelms or my marital satisfaction plummets, I know, deep down inside, that it’s just a phase. It helps me get through.
But when things are nice, it’s a downer to always see the bad flip side. It goes something like this. All my kids are here with me, living life to the hilt and I love it to pieces, but OH NO! IN FIFTEEN YEARS THEY’LL ALL BE GONE AND I’LL BE A DRIED UP OLD PRUNE WITH NO SEX DRIVE AND MOSTLY DEAD, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES. AND WHAT IF ONE OF MY KIDS DIES, OH MY WORD. HOW WILL I EVER GET THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THAT. IT WILL CRUSH ME COMPLETELY AND I’LL WANDER AROUND LIKE A ZOMBIE AND EVERYONE WHO LOOKS AT ME WILL START TO CRY BECAUSE I AM THE EPITOME OF SORROW. OH AND OF COURSE MY HUSBAND WILL GET CANCER AGAIN AND WON’T BE ABLE TO WORK AND WE’LL HAVE TO SELL THE HOUSE AND… And by then I’m blowing my nose and have to step outside to get some fresh air except it’s raining and I can’t.
Humans have a way of dealing with this positive versus negative back and forth. It’s called Repression Mode. My Repression Mode kicks into drive when I’m doing things like the dishes, folding laundry, or writing a blog post. While dear old Mr. RM is functioning, I am able to focus on getting the task done and the peace/satisfaction/emotional high that will come from completing it while at the same time repressing the cold, hard fact that I will have to repeat the task again in x amount of time.
It is with the more nebulous, less controlled situations, like getting old, or the weather, that my Repression Mode fails me. Then a metallic, robot voice starts to drone in my ear, This is futile. You will have to do this again in x amount of time. There is no point, no point, no point.
Maybe this—the focusing on the bad when surrounded by good—is all hormonal? Maybe it’s a sign of age and an increase of wisdom? Maybe it’s the golden ticket to depression?
In any case, I have come to the radical conclusion that people who survive and stay optimistic are the control freaks, the list makers, the task-driven doers. The analytical, big picture, creative people get completely screwed.
All that to say, it’s raining outside and I like it.