Choosing Your Weather

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds.”
– John Ruskin

I was having a really tough time the other day.  I was discouraged.  I had been battling a head cold for what felt like forever.  I have not worked on my art in a month.  And I felt like someone, whose opinion I really value, wasn’t hearing me.  Even my favorite outfit didn’t feel like it fit right.  I just felt……off.  I know that everyone has these kinds of days and that they pass.  Some are harder to get through than others.  I also know that when in the middle of these moments it’s hard to keep positive and keep going forward.

I saw the movie and read the book “The Martian” recently.  (Spoiler alert!  If you have not seen the movie, I highly suggest skipping this paragraph and going directly to the next one.  I also recommend reading the book and seeing the movie.)  The protagonist, Mark Watney, is thought to be dead and left alone on Mars quite by accident.  Talk about having a really bad day.  But it doesn’t end there.  It seemed like Mark would be okay, he had a chance of surviving and then something else would happen.  I couldn’t help but think that this poor man had really bad luck.  How did he make it through?  This is a fictional story… however, the personality, drive and sense of humor of the character is what helped him through the tough times.

This film/book reminded me of something that I had forgotten on my discouraged day…. that my attitude affects my day.  In the book/movie the protagonist could have given up time and time again.  But he did not, he worked through what he was feeling, chose to keep a positive outlook, and with humor and compassion towards himself, he continued on.

Now my life is not nearly as dramatic or in a survival situation.  I have noticed that even on the dark days and when times are bad that if I just keep my sense of humor and keep going that soon things start looking up.  And I can choose to look at those kinds of days as opportunities instead of feeling sorry for myself.

I once worked for an organization that chose to see a lot of gloom and doom.  One of my co-workers would often say that she chose her own weather.  That inside her office it was sunshine and rainbows.  She chose an attitude that allowed her to succeed in a negative atmosphere.

When I am experiencing the discouraged day, negative atmosphere or just feel off, I try to remember that my attitude is key.  I try to be compassionate towards myself, work through my feelings and choose my own weather.  There is beauty in all things, if only you look for it.


It seems appropriate to talk about anticipation this time of year.  Anticipation is with us all the time but it is especially present during the holiday season.  Anticipation starts in November with Thanksgiving and the gathering of friends and family for a shared meal and blessings.  My family celebrates the Christian traditions of Christmas which begins with Advent and continues through Epiphany.  Somewhere in there is the Winter Solstice for which I like to cook a simple meal to share with friends.  We cannot forget New Year’s Eve and Day and the tradition of setting resolutions or goals as one friend likes to call them.  Another favorite anticipated event of a friend is Chinese New Year.  So much to look forward to.  So much to celebrate.  So much preparation, decoration, and anticipation!

What got me thinking about anticipation was the arrival of a notification in my mail box of a parcel that had to be signed for.  Yes, it is the holiday season and packages had arrived at the house, but I was not expecting anything at the time the notification arrived.  Hmm…..  I felt a thrill of anticipation…… a parcel for me.

After leaving my day job, I went to the post office.  At the post office there was a line of at least 11 people ahead of me.  The post office employees were working as quickly and efficiently as possible.  But its the time of year when requests are complicated and take time.  For the most part people were polite and well-behaved.  (There is always a grumbler.)  Finally it was my turn.  I handed my notification slip to the postal worker and watched them disappear into the back.  Soon they were back with a parcel from my friend in Japan.

As I was standing in the line at the post office, I began thinking of other lines that I had been standing in recently…. grocery store, bakery, book store, coffee shop, etc.  We spend a lot of time standing in line. It’s not just this time of year.  However if you go shopping on Black Friday, you are asking to spend some serious time in a line.  Comedian Eddy Izzard in his show “definite article” has a delightful segment on waiting in line or queuing as he calls it.

I have come to recognize a connection between anticipation and patience.  When one looks forward to something it is anticipation.  But waiting for the anticipated event, class, trip, gift, experience, etc. is patience.  Sometimes it is hard being patient when waiting in anticipation.

In this new year of anticipation and promise, I have high hopes for you and myself.   I hope that we have the patience to accept people and situations as they are.  That we are not too critical of ourselves or others.  That we will experience and live fully in each moment.   That we will be kind and generous, willing to teach, help and share.  That we shall be rewarded for our hard work.  That we will anticipate and appreciate the process of becoming who we are meant to be.

I am anticipating a year of growth, learning and sharing.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.