Summer Lessons for Winter

Winter is such a dreary time here in the Northeast. Of course there are those winter lovers who adore the snow and season but I’d have to argue they are exceptions to the rule.
Almost everyone I know falls victim to the winter blues at least once during the season. The snow, the gray skies, lack of sunshine, and short daylight hours all make for a mix of winter funk.
The season starts busy with Holiday planning, the hustle and bustle of Christmas followed by New Year. Then suddenly, nothing. Nada.

The holiday excitement switches to the mundane commute, work day, return commute, and home routine. If you live near me you can relate to those short winter days when you wake up to darkness and head off to work only to return home via another dark drive. It’s a joke this time of year, that when Mainers get home from work, they immediately change into their PJ’s. Ok, I admit, I’ve done it a few times.
Those dark days seem bleaker when you fall into the trap of needing more time in the day than there is daytime. You get home and rush around trying to accomplish all the things you feel you must accomplish in the little bit of twilight left. And once the sun goes down, so goes your motivation.
I was reminded recently to slow down, and stop being so busy.   After all, feeling rushed, pressed for time, and overwhelmed, is a sure sign of doing too much.


In the moment of slowing down, I started reminiscing about childhood. I used to love to lay in the soft grass on hot summer days and watch the clouds shift and float by. I would spend hours laying there watching the sky, smelling the freshly mowed lawns, and letting the sun warm my face.  On a beach day, I enjoyed floating lazily around as the current of the ocean inlet would carry me in the direction of the flow.  At night, I would listen to the peepers and crickets.  I’d watch the stars twinkle and gaze at the moon. 

To this day I enjoy sitting on the beach in a lawn chair or laying in a hammock with a good book. My husband on the other hand likes to stay busy with activities and projects that occupy his time. When we go to the beach together a few minutes of relaxation is more than enough for him. Restless from inactivity, he’ll take a walk down the beach or a swim in the surf. Although I enjoy those things too, I’m perfectly fine sittin’ on my behind. (And yes, that rhymed.)
Even so, I still find myself walking the beach and swimming in the surf more often than I would if I had gone to the beach on my own. Sometimes, I find myself offering up activities to make sure he enjoys the beach. Other times, when I don’t want to go for the walk or swim, he will try to coerce me by incessantly suggesting activities we could do. Sometimes it works. I find in spite of my desire to sit like Jabba the Hutt in my lawn chair, I get up. Completely and totally against my will and desire. I participate to keep in his good grace.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the beach the way that he does. In fact, some people would argue that’s the point of going right!? When I was a kid I loved running up the beach, searching for seashells, and playing in the surf. It’s great exercise and on a nice day it can even be romantic.
But sometimes, it’s nice to just be me. In other words, I don’t always want to do activities and be busy. Sometimes I just want to relax.  I’ve learned that’s my personality. That’s the rhythm of my pace. When I’m overwhelmed, I’ve learned it means I need to slow down. I’m doing too much for what I’m cut out to do.


Of course if you ask Ryan, kite surfing, parasailing, volleyball, skim-boarding, paddle boarding, and surfing are all relaxing beach activities.  If I’m Jabba the Hut, he’s the Tasmanian devil.  Buzzing around is the pace of his rhythm.
We all have qualities that are unique to us. Sometimes being active is relaxing. And sometimes being lazy is too.
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and find quick pleasure in a beautiful sunset or a clear night of sparkling stars. Others may not enjoy the outdoors as much as I do.
My mother-in-law is incredibly fashionable. She enjoys socializing, dressing nice, shopping, and HGTV. She’s always dressed exquisitely and often looks like she stepped out of a fashion magazine. Some days, I’m lucky if I’ve ironed my shirt.

We all have our unique personality traits.  It’s not wrong to honor them.  I know I can’t lay around on a beach every day while Ryan works on projects. (This time of year would be a bit chilly.) I also know, I can’t get caught up in busying myself with too many projects. Ryan has learned that I’m more laid back and I have learned he likes to get things done. Together we balance each other. I challenge him to relax more and he keeps me productive.
So during the winter drear when there seems to be not enough time in the day, maybe it’s ok. Maybe it’s time to slow down. Take a deep breath, put on your jammies early and go with the flow. Play a board game with your family, read a book, or if you’re like Ryan organize your closet. If you’re like me, sit and read, subscribe to this blog!  See you at the beach, just look for the Tasmanian devil running circles around Jabba the Hutt with a book.

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