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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.
The situation is this: I was simply not prepared for the idea of needing to mentally power through summer.
The whole theory around quote unquote making it in Alaska, at least for folks whose first love isn’t snow sports, is pretty simple. Power through the cold and dark months. Take your reward in the form of endless daylight and all the sunshine in the summer. Repeat.
Which is why, sitting here on yet another rainy summer day, I’m feeling a little ripped-off. We’re fully in the middle of the summer months now, and I can pretty much count on one hand the beautiful, shorts worthy days we’ve had here this year. Instead what we have is weather that is really, really trying my ability to stay positive and take outdoor things as they come.
On the one hand, I’m feeling really grateful for my outdoor habit right now. If I hadnt been practicing going outside no matter what for almost 2,150 days running at this point, I most certainly would be suffering even greater things right now. But because of that habit, I know that I can and indeed must be for the sake of my mental health out there anyway. I own and know how to wear the clothing and gear to make it happen. And whether I’m feeling it or not, out I go. That ability is proving a huge blessing right now.
On the other hand, good Lord this is stupid.
I realize that while I’m sitting here bemoaning the 49 and raining outside right now, you might be somewhere it’s so hot you’re melting. In fact, not long ago we had the hottest day ever on planet earth. And on that day? I wore one sweatshirt and two jackets and broke out my puffy pants to stay warm. Yup. That’s how it was.
While I’m on the complaining subject, I’m also going to briefly mention the cottonwood, which is just insult to injury at this point. If you’ve never experienced the snowfall like qualities of cottonwood trees dropping their cotton, imagine a bajillion dandelions blowing their fluff in the wind, now have it coming from above your head for weeks at a time litke a snowstorm. Now make it give you allergy symptoms even if you aren’t usually allergic to stuff because it’s just that much. Don’t forget that every time you open your door, it fluffs its way all over the house.
OK, really I’m done complaining now.
But what I’m not done with is talking about the art and challenge of powering through this stuff. Hotter than hades where you might be or cold and wet and disappointing where I am probably have some similarities in that they both feel impossible and not really what you ordered for your summer experience.
So what are we going to do about it?
I’m remembering right now my very first summer of my outdoor challenge, before I set my 20 minutes daily idea and I was just going outside a little each day no matter what. I wanted to do it every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and it was inspired by a rainy, blah day where I was just as irritated as I am right now.
I sat there, in the rain, annoyed and wearing several layers and I realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do about the weather: the only thing I can control is me. So if I was going to get the benefits of being with nature, I was gonna have to figure out a way to make it happen using the tools at my disposal, and while looking past the annoying and less than idea circumstances that I could not control.
That was true then. It is true today. And that means that what I’m going to do about all of this is this:
First, I’m just acknowledging that this sucks. Rewind this podcast to hear me complain again.
Next, I am using my feel-happier tools, starting with getting comfortable. It’s in no way warm enough for the shorts I optimistically put on this morning, so I’ve changed into my favorite pair of jeans. I also refilled my coffee cup. I’m thinking of outdoor things I can do in the rain that I really do love, like a walk through the community garden downtown where the flowers are blooming. That’s only a few miles from my house, it takes almost no effort to go there and it will definitely brighten my day when I drive by anyway during some errands.
Finally, I’m making some outdoor plans that I will do whether or not it’s raining. There’s a hike I’ve been wanting to do that would, yup, be more fun in no rain but I also happen to know from experience that it’s pretty good in a rain jacket, too.
So this isn’t the weather we ordered. But are we really going to let something out of our control kill our outdoor buzz? No we are not.
You can see photos of all of my rainy time adventures on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. Share your photos — good weather and bad — with me by tagging #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.