[Ha, when I first started writing this I made a note at the top of this post saying:
“The quote above has nothing to do with what I plan on writing about today, but it’s relevant to some journaling I’m doing offline (a new-ish habit: lots of brainstorming) so I thought I might include it….” but after I was done writing, I realized that the quote is TOTALLY relevant.]
For the first time in quite a few years, I’m noticing the transition from summer into autumn. I’m hopeful that it’s a signal that this deep(er) depression I have been in these past two-three years might be shifting a bit.
The biggest “seasonal” change I am noticing (and this will be very difficult to articulate without sounding bonkers) is the calming down of the energy in the atmosphere. Bear with me here as I try to express this. For the six months of hurricane season, there are daily thunder/lightning storms. And there’s a certain charged, sharp energy in the air that comes with that, plus a heaviness that builds up a little bit more every day. After several months of that, it feels like you’re under a heavy, damp, electrified blanket. It’s really disconcerting.
But then in fall, when the storms begin to ease up, it feels like a weight has been lifted. There is a tremendous sense of relief with that, at least for me.
I’m also noticing the changes in sunlight- I love the dappled, golden light of autumn. Love love love. I love the earlier sunsets and the earlier sunrises. Even more love love love. Again, a huge sense of relief to have the day feel like the day and the night feel like the night and not have everything feel like one big blaring haze.
This all makes me excited for the opportunity to experience proper seasons again, even the cold and dreary ones, which will happen when we move away from Florida. It’s still a few years away for us, but thanks to the urging of my therapist, we’ve started to plan. Dr. K has suggested that we consider *not* waiting until Grace is done with school to make the move, but, as a family, we’ve already made the commitment to stay here as long as Grace wants to stay.
Grace loves her school, and the community there, and feels very comfortable being absolutely herself there- she’s able go to school every day and be at ease there. That is incredibly significant to me. I did not have that feeling of being okay with who I genuinely was until I was well out of college and away from school altogether (I’m still working on it, to be honest, although I’ve made some aggressive strides in just the last few months…) so if Grace has that *now*, at 14 years old, there’s no way I’m ripping her out of that environment.
On the flip side, she doesn’t like where we live. We live in a very isolated area, half an hour from her school and an hour away from “town” and a lot of her friends, so she’s away from everything. She just turned 14, so this has become a huge issue for her.
Also, she has eczema and she gets these huge red, intensely itchy welts whenever she gets warm, which is any time she’s outside or in “balmy” places. She has a much easier time keeping her skin happy when she’s not sweating off all her lotion/medications several times a day. In drier climates, the meds actually get absorbed into her skin, so they work better and she’s more comfortable in general when she’s freezing (she keeps her room ice cold and is constantly ask us to turn up the air in the house). Grace plays soccer, volleyball, and lacrosse, and she’s starting to resent the fact that the eczema mixed with the climate situation prevents her from spending time outside and being active without being in pain. And then she’s stuck inside every summer.
As someone who went through health stuff as a kid/teenager that kept me indoors, I REALLY know how she feels. It’s a total “quality of life” issue.
But, as I’ve said, she’s willing to deal with the climate/heath stuff for now. And as long as she is, we are, too. Unless I just can’t take it anymore, we’re pretty resolute on staying until Grace hits her senior year, and then we’ll start making the transition so that we’re ready to move by June of 2024.
Four and a half years. A lot of people talk about their “5 year plan” and so this is ours.
It is fun to dream and plan in the meantime, though. I mean, it’s kind of like a blank canvas. A little intimidating, but also liberating.
I’ve always lived where other people in my family either lived or *wanted* me to live so this will be my first time considering where *I’d* like to live. I didn’t realize this until a few days ago. Even my college choice was strongly influenced by my parents, because their accountant’s daughter went to that school, and it was “on the way” for them during their seasonal drives from NY to Florida and back again. My father WILL NOT fly, so Emory was the school that was equally convenient for them whether they were in NY or Florida, so that’s where I went. Then I moved down here to Florida for surgery after grad school and here I am, 20 years later.
So this idea of “I dream of living in a quiet, residential area, with no vacation tourism, with a lot of mature leafy trees and a big backyard, with all four seasons, with a decent vegetarian cafe nearby, and a good museum, an art supply store, and a great botanical garden a few minutes away” and actually being able to FIND something like that and maybe even be able to live there someday makes my head spin. The thought of having a more serene and accessible world around me and the way it might influence my quality of life actually makes me cry, but in sort of a good way. It’s such a significant thing, at least for me. I can’t get out and hike and adventure, so my backyard and immediate surroundings are pretty much what I get to work with. Being able to choose my own environment is a very significant and meaningful opportunity and I’m not taking it lightly.
In the last few months, we’ve really narrowed down where we want to live. If we ever won the lottery, the first thing we’d do (after the very responsible stuff you have to do when you win the lottery) is find a place up north to use over the summers and school breaks, just to get out of here during the thick of hurricane season. And then we could move into it full-time when Grace graduates. I would want to downsize, so we’re not looking for a palatial estate or ginormous house or anything. Just a cozy place on a little bit of land (privacy from neighborhood noise) with lots of lovely trees- somewhere far, far away from the coast and hurricanes.
Anyway, it’s not an option at this moment, but my therapist told me that taking the time to put some thought into our future plans is a positive thing- it makes us feel like we’re actively working towards that goal, which actually translates in progress towards that goal being made. It’s sort of abstract, and I puzzle it out from a neuroscience/psychology standpoint, but it’s something, right?