Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why I love this time of year

This letter is an answer to a question from my friend Les, who is thankfully back blogging again. At the end of her post from yesterday, she asked:
I'll leave you with a question of the day: Do any of you actually like daylight savings time?
My answer is a resounding ‘yes!’ The morning after the time change, when I awaken, I feel like my life is just beginning. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I think I have figured it out after nearly 68 years. I am basically kind of a lazy person. Even as a kid, I remember going outdoors mainly for the good feeling of coming back inside. I love kitchens and studies and living rooms. I like to cook in the kitchen, read and do desk stuff in the study, and watch television and visit with people in the living room. I love my garden, but not necessarily the doing of it. I like the results. I like looking at my flowers from a bench. Unhealthy as it may be, I must admit that I am a sitter. I do take a walk most days, especially now we have Lucy (a good reason to have an active dog!) and I do yoga. I have always exercised to some degree but again, it is just so I can sit with less guilt. When I read books or look at magazines, it is the interiors I enjoy. I pore over word or photo descriptions of rooms in a house.  

All this is a lead-up to why I love this time of year. The early darkness means I can turn on my lamps and make the house feel cozy. I have more hours where I can be inside doing what I want to do in those rooms that I love. The summer is mostly too busy for me. Too much activity, too many people and occasions, too much outside stuff to do. I don’t get enough of that quiet, alone time that I need. The months from November through March allow me that time.

A year ago, I learned that there is a seasonal affective disorder in reverse. It was a really big deal for me to find out about this. It was just amazing to learn there are others like me. I am certainly NOT like the extremes listed, and in fact the only adjective that really applies to me in relationship to summer is what I’ve kind of talked about - ‘agitation.’ I don’t get depressed in the summer, but I do have a longing for more peace, more solitude, more November. And here is the article. Thanks for bearing with me. I expect there aren’t many who feel as I do, but then again, readers are usually an introverted bunch so you may well understand.

The article is from here:

You know what today is, right?

That whole Daylight Saving thing is over, which means it gets darker earlier.

For a lot of people that might be a downer. You get home from work and it's pitch black outside. Maybe you skip that run because it just feels too cold and dark. Then you feel bad because you skipped your run, and you open a bottle of whiskey instead.

Ok, we're getting carried away, but you get the point. Some people are SAD in the winter months — literally SAD — they have seasonal affective disorder. They'd much rather frolic in the summer sun.

But guess what? SAD can happen in reverse.

"There are people who have a very hard time dealing with the summer," says Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist and professor at Georgetown University. "For some people, warmer temperatures and brighter days can lead to depression, agitation, weight loss, insomnia ... in extreme cases, even thoughts of suicide."

Rosenthal was the first to name and describe the disorder, and he's known as the pioneer of SAD research, starting back in the '80s.

It's the summer version of SAD. For these people, this is the day that things start to get better.

Rosenthal says the gradual drop in temperature creates a calming feeling, as opposed to the agitation that the summer heat can cause. It's also the time when those of us who simply like winter can spike our tea, get the cozy plaid blankets out of the attic and watch television — I mean, read books.

For more on the upsides to winter, we found Jack Fitzpatrick. He's from Minnesota, so he's something of an expert on the cold and dark. We can all learn something from his attitude.

"I love the transition," Fitzpatrick says. "There is just so much time to spend inside because you don't want to be outside. You're just kind of hanging out. Sitting, eating food."

Allen Nguyen didn't grow up with Minnesota winters. He's from New Orleans, but he hates the heat. Cold weather is where he feels most himself.

"I can go outside when it's very serene, when it's very snowy or even when it's a nice fall day," he says. "It just feels a lot better to me. It's just hard to explain."

I'm with you, Allen. And he waxed philosophical too.

"When it gets cold, inside of me, I sort of understand that there's an end to things, a completion to the year," he says.

See? Daylight Saving Time is deep.

So don't just enjoy the extra hour of sleep, be excited about the change, the chilly weather and cozy, darker nights. It's the best time, Fitzpatrick says, to do the following:


"Sit, take a bath, wrap up under blankets and not talk to anyone."

30 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh. I didn't know there was such a thing.This is what I have. I can even get a bit depressed when it is so hot you don't want to be outside. I so look forward to the longer nights and cooler days. We certainly don't have MN winters but I enjoy what we have. I feel more alive. I only have one friend that understands my thinking/feeling. So many people look at you like you are crazy when I say these things. As to the time...I just wish they would leave the time alone. Especially now that I am retired, or nearly so, I work two days per week but it it really isn't work most days, more of a social club. ha... Don't let my boss lady read that. Bring on the spiked tea, I mean warm tea. ;)

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    1. Your comment makes me happy that I posted this. I wondered what the reaction would be!

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  2. That is so funny, Nan. I had no idea that there was a reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. Makes sense though. Well, you know that I'm married to Mr. Seasonal Affective Disorder himself. He hates it when we 'fall back'. He leaves the house in the dark and gets home in the dark. He calls it 'the dark time' and has for years. It's why Oregon didn't work very well for him. I liked the gloom and fog and rain and I don't mind the dark much, but...now that I am more active, I like the light. So, we are here in mourning and 'the dark time' has come. We'll be celebrating when the clocks 'spring forward' and my dear husband will get to see more of the light and be more himself.

    It's good you live where you do and we live where we do. Right?

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    1. I didn't either until I read that piece. I wonder if our dark evenings begin at the same time.

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  3. Count me in on this. I love the shorter days....the oncoming Winter....coming home and closing the door and staying inside. I endure Summer because I have to, but all Summer long I wait for this time of year. I get so excited! First, all the beautiful golden leaves. The falling temperatures, sweaters, hot cocoa, yarn, books, books, books. I can't seem to READ in the Summer. Lawnmowers, power tools, the feeling that I should be doing something else,...always something else. Not so in Fall and Winter. Candles, cookies, soups, breads,....I could go on and on. Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder? You betcha! I've got it! And I like it this way! (P.S. I love your blog; thank you).

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    1. I love what you wrote. They are my feelings exactly! And thanks for saying that about my blog. It means so much to me. Really.

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  4. I like the change in Fall (to early nights), and I much prefer cool weather to hot, but I don't like how I feel after each change, either spring or fall. In both cases I am tired for days, I get less sleep, my already bad sleeping problems are worse. Very interesting information. Thanks.

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    1. I find the sleeping thing more of a problem in the spring. When my kids were little the time changed later than it does now and those May evenings they didn't want to go to sleep!

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  5. I have that! Oh gosh... I had no idea there was officially an actual medical opposite to SAD. That's me! I loathe June and July... am nearly always ill, ill enough to lose weight because I can't eat properly. I don't start to improve until the 3rd week in August and the real heat of summer begins to ease off. Every year I dread the approach of summer and I thought it was just me. Well, well.

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    1. I can't believe it. I am so glad I posted this so I could find this out about you, Cath! Smiling here across the pond.

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  6. What an interesting post Nan. I love nesting so I feel less guilty this time of year when I find lots to do indoors. I love turning on my pretty lamps earlier and like you, I definitely have certain rooms where I read, watch tv, or just sit and stare out the window by day. I hate driving at night since I've gotten older so i rarely go out in the evening by car (maybe 1-2 times a month).

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    1. I don't drive at night, and haven't for a few years. I had trouble with the brightness of oncoming headlights.

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  7. This was a fascinating take on the seasons from a different perspective, one that I have not thought about yet. And isn't that one of the great things about blogging, you get to know other perspectives, read other ideas and opinions and learn things you didn't know about?
    Spring and summer are definitely my favourite times of the year, but I do love fall, and there are even good things I can say about winter. But I struggle with cold weather, and can cope less and less with it the older I get, it seems.
    I do wonder about the "guilt" you and some of your readers mention. Where does it come from, this "guilt" about wanting to sit down quietly, enjoy good food and good books or TV? Why should one feel guilty about preferring to stay home instead of running around outside? Who ever said we all MUST be sporty, active people with model figures who socialise all the time and are not supposed to be happy if we're not always surrounded by bunches of people?
    There is a time for everything, and balance is the secret - if someone feels balanced and good about themselves with more hours indoors than out, that's fine; if someone else feels they really need to go out for a run after a long day at the office in order to feel balanced, then that is just as fine.

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    1. Yes, that is something I love about blogging too. The 'guilt' is probably one of those Puritan ethics so many of us grew up with. No dessert until dinner is finished. No play until the work is done. That kind of thing. I think the book about introverts opened the world's eyes about people who are party people, who are quite happy in their own company. Yes, balance is the secret. Even busy people need quiet, and the solitary ones need a little company. Lovely comment.

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  8. Oh, Nan, I can't holler "me too!" on this one. I lean much more toward SAD but am fine as long as I still get outside in daylight as much as possible. I don't mind the natural gradual change of the light, but the time change is a big jolt and, from my perspective, unnecessary. Nature's got it handled. Why do we need to orchestrate it? lol. It was definitely interesting to read this entirely different viewpoint!

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    1. Most everyone I know is more like you. I've been amazed at the responses here that showed me that I am indeed not alone!! Yeah, I wouldn't change the clocks either.

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  9. What a wonderful response to my question! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and the article, Nan.

    I'm kind of fickle when it comes to the whole Day Light Savings Time thing. Like you, I love being inside a cozy house in the winter, curled up with a book under a warm blanket on the couch, my sweet dog sleeping nearby. However, I don't enjoy leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. Luckily for me, this doesn't happen too often anymore since I get to leave work at 3:00. But, I really do prefer warmer temps and longer days. We enjoy relaxing on the porch in the evenings, watching our neighbors walk by with their children and dogs. Right about now, we usually start saying "goodbye" to our neighbors, telling them we'll see them after our winter hibernation. Of course, our weather is more like summer right now than fall, so maybe we'll get lucky and enjoy our "porch sitting" on the weekends on into December. :)

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    1. I don't hate warm weather, but it goes on a bit too long for me. haha

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  10. Fascinating! I'm definitely a nester, too. As much as I love summer and all the activity, I cherish a gloomy, stormy weekend where I can curl up with a book, stay inside, and read. Sunsets before 5PM are just too early for me :(

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    1. I think most people are like you! They love summer, like an occasional rainy day, but hate the early darkness. Don't feel badly, it'll only be a couple months!

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  11. This is such an interesting take on this time of year, especially when some of us are still stumbling around adjusting to the time change (or not). I love how you like to go outside mainly for "the good feeling of coming back inside." And the coziness of lamplit rooms...

    I shared this with my friends on Facebook so that more people would have the delight of reading it. There should be some interesting responses there.

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    1. Yeah, Tom thought I was pretty bold for admitting that!!

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  12. I am a person with serious SAD and this time of year is the worst for me. Christmas helps a little. I love it when people wrap lights around a tree and I can look down a street and see them all. The rest of winter - ugh! Yet, oddly enough though, I can really appreciate those people who suffer its opposite in summer. Two sides of the same coin, I guess.

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    1. Oh, I am sorry. By January it does get incredibly lighter compared to now, so not too much longer, Alex.

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  13. I'm with you, Nan. I love this time of year. I don't mind the time change because I feel like this is the 'right' time for me. I struggle March-October when the clocks are ahead. I suffer from Reverse SAD or Summer SAD. I'm not one that does well in sunshine - I'm allergic to sun, literally. Too much heat gives me hives, headaches and it used to give me nosebleeds in the summers. I prefer the drizzly months and the cooler weather. I love October - January! I find inspiration and comfort in the cozy rooms, sitting by a fire, snuggling under covers with a good book... Thanks for your lovely post!

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    1. I am always so happy when I see your name here! We are truly simpatico!

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  14. Laughing my akoli off! Plaid blankets, spiked tea, kitchen cooking, sittin'around, tv, and NOT doing. Just being. The dogs and I walk all over. The horses get some extra grain and a "see ya in the Spring" scratch. The quiet of early dark and the chill of autumn and the hard silence of first frost refresh me and rest me. Throw some more wood on the fire and hand me that Stephen King book!

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  15. You have no idea how excited I am reading your post. Yes! Someone else like me! I feel as if I'd found my long lost twin, except you're much younger and do yoga!

    I'm printing this out, Nan, to prove to my family that there are people who love long dark evenings. I am not alone.

    Dewena

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    1. Not 'much' younger! I'm tickled that you feel the same way, but I am not a bit surprised.

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