Why in childhood and youth do we wish time to pass so quickly – we want to grow up so fast – yet as adults we wish just the opposite? – My Dog Skip
For me, winter in Georgia has always been hard time.
I’m not a fan of cold weather season.
I grew up in sunny south Florida. We only had one season: hot and humid, all the time. I remember vividly one Christmas day in my teens, tanning by the lake in my grandparents’ backyard. It was a bright Christmas. It was always a bright Christmas. I didn’t have to experience winter weather on a regular basis until I was nearly an adult.
So when it gets below 40 degrees I can’t hang.
Once, sitting (and shivering) outside by a fire in cold weather, a neighbor’s father told me it was because I didn’t have enough “brown fat” stored up in my body. At the time, I thought he was mocking me. But it turns out his science was absolutely correct.
And so, because of my upbringing in South Florida (and my subsequent lack of brown fat) I have always dreaded the cold winter months. I hate being cold. I would rather sweat any day than shiver. I’ve heard all of the cold-weather-preference arguments (“You can layer in winter, but you can’t do anything about the heat” blah blah blah) and I don’t care. Summer rules. Winter drools. That’s how I feel about it.
Some Georgia winters have been somewhat mild. But most haven’t, at least from my perspective. I remember one particularly harsh winter I never took off my toboggan and gloves, even when I was sleeping. My bed was just a few feet away from floor-to-ceiling glass and my body couldn’t get warm enough, even under the covers.
Cold weather is the worst.
My whole adult life I’ve spent just wishing winter would hurry up and pass so I could get to warmer weather. Every. Single. Year.
I do this in other “seasons,” too. Seasons I don’t particularly care for, either. Maybe I’m going through a difficult personal stretch (like a recent achilles tendon injury), or there’s not a lot of excitement (e.g. travel, big events) on the horizon, or there’s trouble in relationships/extended family stresses. I seem to have the same impatience with these seasons of life as I do the actual season of winter, wanting it to hurry up and get over with so I can get back to the good stuff.
I forget too easily that life is the good stuff. And every season of life is an opportunity to learn and grow, to love and give, to become the best version of myself. In fact, if it were not for the tough seasons, I would never even have the opportunity to experience life like it was meant to be lived. I would miss out on the opportunity to grow stronger through my pain, grow more perspective through the difficult times, grow more compassionate and wise because of my struggles. The good stuff is so good, in part, because of the bad stuff.
The warmth of summer is so much more enjoyable coming out of the bitter cold of winter.
I know this now.
And I finally realize when you spend your days wishing for time to pass faster, you get exactly what you wish for.
My son is a junior in high school, somehow. I’ve had an app on my phone for several years counting down the days until he graduates. There aren’t nearly as many days left now as there used to be. It won’t be long before he becomes an adult and leaves our house for college and beyond. Now I’m thinking instead of wishing all of those seasons would pass I should’ve have lived in the moment a lot more, been a lot more grateful, a lot more aware of how lucky I am to be alive, how fortunate I am to be a father in any season, at any time.
I understand it better now, though not fully yet. But I’m going to do everything I can to enjoy where I am right now, no matter the season or “season.”
I hope these next two winters last forever.