Life: In the Blink of an Eye

In the blink of an eye, it’s gone from summer to fall.  The moment Labor Day was over, the weather turned cooler and drier.  The air conditioning that I had running constantly the week before due to hot and very humid weather has been idle.  I’m grateful for the silence.

Now that the weather has turned into autumn weather, I feel like the summer passed me by.  Though it’s not really up to me what my schedule is like, I feel robbed of all the wonderful things about summer – the carefree attitude, the sunny weather, the long days.  I never made it to the beach this year and I never had one of the those days that just gives you that warm, happy, languid feeling that happens in summer.

Mostly, it was a stressful summer of worrying about various things that need to be done – one after another.  Not a good way to spend summer.  So, yes, right now there is some regret at how this past summer went, but I also came to realize some things.

I realize that it’s important to make every moment count.  I am very guilty of wasting time.  I do know the difference between taking a beat or taking some down time to wasting time.  Let me tell you, I do a lot of time wasting.  More so when I’m stressed.

So, what would I have done differently?

1. Gone outside more – I spent a lot of time inside.  Sometimes because it was really just too uncomfortable to be outside, but a lot of times because I let the lazy feeling take over.

2. Less screen time – More than ever, I feel the life force draining out of me the more time I spend in front of my computer.  I find that I feel less grounded, less happy, and more disconnected.  Living alone, I use the computer to keep me company and that’s really just a bad habit.

3. Make sleep a priority – I spent a lot of days just being up because I was stressed out and not dealing well with my stress.  Getting consistently enough sleep is important.  I am no longer the person who can scrimp on sleep and still make it through the day intact.  Maybe it’s a sign of aging, maybe it’s the amount of stress I’m under, but I am a mess if I haven’t gotten at least 7 hours of sleep.  That is the bare minimum.  If I get any less, no amount of caffeine will perk me up and I will spend the whole day dragging myself around.

4. Taken a day off – I constantly feel as if I’m not doing enough for whatever I’m trying to accomplish and instead of realizing that maybe a day off would be the best way to use my time, I end up staying home and feeling guilty that I’m not doing work.  I need to get better at realizing that it’s better to be doing anything, whether work or play, than to be snuggling up with Hulu in the evenings because I don’t feel like I deserve a day off and I’m too stressed out to focus properly on doing anything productive work wise.

Autumn has definitely made the announcement about its arrival, but calendar wise there are still a little more than two weeks to go.  Even with the terrible schedule I have, I intend on doing better as I see these last two official weeks of summer out and welcome the autumn.

Do: Cool Off

I live far enough north, in a place that gets plenty of snow in the winter, with cool enough that people tend to say that an air conditioner is unnecessary in the summer.  I beg to differ.  While the temperatures may not ever really pass the low to mid 80s, the humidity is another thing altogether.

I grew up with central air conditioning and then went to college out west where the air was dry desert air.  Trying to survive a humid summer without air conditioning is just not possible.  So last year, I bought a window air conditioner.  I installed it in my bedroom and for the most part while I was pretty warm elsewhere in my apartment, I survived without too much trouble.

This year, the humidity is much worse and the air just stagnates in my apartment.  No matter how or when I open the windows and position the fan, the apartment is just plain uncomfortable.  The act of breathing causes beads of sweat to break out.

I mused that maybe I needed to buy more fans.  Not wanting to spend money, I came up with the brilliant plan of putting aluminum foil in select windows to reflect the heat.  That worked okay for a while, but then the humidity got even worse.

Finally, after my sister pointed out that buying fans was pretty expensive and not a good way to combat humidity (which is my real problem), I decided to just go ahead and buy another air conditioner.

Well, I’m telling you right now, that was the best choice I’ve made in recent days.  Sure, I’m sad I had to part with a good chunk of change, but now I can stay in my apartment and turn on the lights without fear of becoming too hot.  I can even cook without becoming a puddle of sweat.

I realize that air conditioning is a luxury, but staying cool makes a big difference between whether I can actually be productive or not.

Lesson: If you can control something that makes you uncomfortable, then do it.  Even if it means a little bit of monetary sacrifice.