Weather or Not
Why are we never satisfied with the weather?
It seems like we always want what we can’t have. In one part of the U.S. with cooler temps, people are longing for some warm weather; in another part of the country with extreme heat, people are sweating away and dreaming of some relief. In the summer we wish for cool weather and a break from the heat, and in the winter we yearn for warm weather and an escape from the cold.
What gives? Sometimes we adults can act like a cranky bunch of spoiled kids, particularly when it comes to something we can’t control like the weather. In the opinion of psychologist Pauline Wallin, if we know we can’t get something, we pay more attention to not having that something that we want it even more. For example, we want cool weather in the summer but know we can’t get it; because we can’t get it, we pay even more attention to the weather, which makes us want the cool weather more.
Another reason why we’re never satisfied with the weather: it can affect our mood and health. No kidding. Seasonal Affective Disorder (a.k.a. SAD or “the winter blues”) impacts 5% of the American population with another 20% showing symptoms that include fatigue, irritability, and mild depression among others due to a lack of sunlight in winter. People with arthritis suffer more on cold and rainy days than on warm and dry ones. Then, of course, there are different kinds of seasonal allergies that are caused either directly or indirectly by the weather, wreaking havoc with people’s sinuses, eyes, lungs, skin, and whatnot.
There’s obviously not much we can do about the weather. We can’t control it, so maybe talking or complaining about it gives us a sense of doing something, even if it’s accomplishing really nothing at all. Maybe the Buddhists have the right idea: we need to accept the things we can’t control, because not doing so will only increase our suffering and unhappiness. Why can’t we just accept the weather–rain or shine, hot or cold–for what it is and try to make the best of it?
Those who live in an area where the climate is mild and consistent, such as Southern California, have to deal with other issues that they are more than happy to complain about. Traffic and crime are big ones. Choose your poison!