NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

July 5, 2013

Boomer Talk: The weather conversation

Boomer Talk
Angelena Craig

---- — It is the great equalizer, talking about the weather. Each of us can relate to this topic, and most of us include it frequently, perhaps all too frequently, in our conversations. If there is nothing more urgent to say to someone and we want to be friendly, we can always talk about the weather. It is a safe topic, one we all have in common.

“Nasty weather, isn’t it?”

“You think the sun will ever shine again?”

“I am so tired of all this bad weather.”

But, there are those rare times when we are able to say or to hear something positive.

“Isn’t it a gorgeous day? So perfect in every way.”

In these moments, we feel grateful that the weather is cooperating and helping uplift our spirits. We pause a moment and take a long, deep breath, feeling so good to be alive.

Some fortunate folks seem not to be affected at all about what is going on outside. They hardly notice weather and never complain when it is freezing or sweltering. For them, it is “whatever.”

But others are dramatically affected by the weather, both physically and/or emotionally. Physical pain, as with arthritis, may come on strong with certain kinds of weather. Others suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), a type of depression that arrives when day after day the sun does not shine. SAD occurs at the same time every year, sapping energy and bringing on moodiness. Treatment for this disorder includes light therapy (photo therapy), psychotherapy and medications.

There has been some interesting research of the seasonal effects on suicide rates. The prevalence of taking one’s life is, surprisingly, greatest during the late spring and early summer months, despite the common belief that rates peak during the cold and dark months of the winter season. It is hard to explain why this is so.

One theory put forth says that, although a feeling of loneliness and hopelessness can happen during the winter, there may be a high expectation of renewed happiness once the weather changes, only to be severely disappointed. Then, with no foreseeable hope, in desperation, some choose to end their lives, leaving behind their grieving loved ones to wonder why.

You, too, may have noticed that there really is a lot of complaining about the weather ... too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet. Take your pick. It is good to give pause and remember how truly fortunate we are not to have gone through a major and life-altering disaster where instant downsizing happens. The shock of losing every material thing or, more importantly, a life because of weather is not unknown to people in California or Oklahoma or New Jersey, or closer to home in the town Monson.

Just this week, the possibility of a tornado passing through our area has made us a bit more vigilant. Perhaps we in the Northeast have been a little smug or unconscious about our own susceptibility, of respecting Mother Nature and how she shows her force. We do take a lot for granted, thinking we are all set.

Having personally lived through a major earthquake, felt the uncontrollable power of nature and then seen the destruction, I have come to understand that you never know what is around the next bend in the road.

There is no getting around the fact that the weather is much more severe than in past times. The snowfalls are stronger, our waters are rising, the tornadoes and hurricanes, flash floods and raging forest fires more prevalent.

So how do we prepare for the weather that may be coming our way?

We can stock our basements or have “a safe room” with enough food and water to last awhile ... but how much is enough?

If we are spiritual, we can turn to prayer, asking that no harm comes to us or our loved ones. More importantly, we can understand and accept that all things are impermanent, even our bodies.

Whether it is the bad weather or the rising cost of living or any startling event that occurs in our lives — all of which are beyond our control or manipulation — it is best to stay calm while feeling grateful, in this moment, for all the abundance in our lives, starting with a roof over our heads and realizing that not everyone is so fortunate.

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Angelena Craig of Newburyport teaches Wellness Workshops, Kripalu Slow Flow Yoga, and “Sit Down and Move” classes to boomers and beyond. Visit her website at www.thenewagingmovement.com or email angelenayoga@verizon.net.