Outside . . .

For several years it seems like I made the same phone call around the same time in February.  One of my dearest friends is a therapist (wouldn’t you know I’d need a therapist on speed dial) and so our conversations went something like this:

Jen:  Tonia, it’s Jen.  How do you know when you’re depressed?

Tonia:  Jen, it’s the weather.  You call me every year at this time.  You’ll feel better when the sun is out.

Have  I mentioned that Tonia is absolutely the Yin to my Yang?  (Okay, I don’t really know what that means, but she has always balanced me out.)  And she knows that I don’t function in cloudy, cold weather.

This would be true of this winter.  Every winter is the “winter of my discontent” but this year has been ridiculous.  I have obsessed over the crummy weather.  I have made a vow to never complain about heat, but I cannot deal with winter weather.

But the sun came out last weekend.  And it was actually somewhat warm this week.

I don’t think I’ve seen my neighbors for about a year, it seems.

Kids were out playing kickball with parents in the cul-de-sac.  Dogs were being walked further than the end of the yard.  People were grilling out.  I heard music and laughter.

Life.

I had a long conversation with Samuel, the 7 year old down the street, about where the bus drops the kids off in the afternoon and how Henry our dog must be a dalmation because he has spots even though they don’t really look like spots (Henry is not even an ounce dalmation) and how when he was 3 he had to go to the emergency room because he had asthma.  It was exhilarating.

Emma invited herself into the neighbor’s house to play with their 3 year old, Meggie.  And they didn’t seem to mind.

Now, today is cold and cloudy.  But I know that spring is coming.  I know it is.  I’ve seen a glimpse.

This week also showed me a glimpse of how I want to live my life.  Outside.  With people.  Talking to the neighbors and sharing life.

Being outside forces a sense of openness.  And neighbors are not always the people you would hang out with – I mean, they’re kind of like family – you don’t really pick them.  But you have to live with them.  We’re lucky, we like our neighbors – it’s just a strange sense of a forced relationship.

But, this spring and summer, I hope we hang out a bit more with the neighbors.  Live on the outside a little more.

Now, sunshine, you can return.

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