It’s damn cold, isn’t it?
Good, it should be this time of year.
I lived in the tropics for four years. Winter meant wrapping a light sweater around my sundress. On the coldest days, I wore closed-toe shoes.
People often look at me in awe when I tell them about my life in Beachland. Why did you leave? They ask in shock. Why on earth would you come to the cold north?
I don’t have a good answer for any of the dice I’ve rolled, but I can share something I’ve learned while at the table: Even in Beachland, there’s no escaping winter.
The Papaya Diet
Scroll any Instagram feed these days and you’re bound to see a photo of someone living their best life. They are on a beach, with no job in sight. Their skin is a shade of cafe au lait and they seem to eat a diet consisting entirely of papaya and coconut water. You can have this too, they say. Link in bio.
Once you manage to peel your eyes from your phone, you see the overcast sky outside your window and remember that you have to scrape the ice from your windshield. You close your eyes and imagine your space heater is a warm tropical breeze.
Open your eyes, I say. Wrap a scarf around your neck and get right with right here. It’s where your power is.
Summer’s Fun and Fall’s Abundance
We have been taught that we deserve an endless summer and yet still we want to claim fall’s harvest. We have been taught that winter is a burden, a time to suffer through until we get the consolation prize of spring.
But none of what nature has given us is a mistake. Why this?
If you are afraid of winter, ask yourself what you fear about letting go – this is winter’s sacred request, after all. The cold season knows that without regular and healthy destruction, creation has no room to bud.
It Looks Worse than It Is
No one wants to suffer. No one wants to feel constricted and confused. Yet these states are part of life. It’s not wrong to want to avoid these human pitfalls, it’s just that the map you bought to the Land of No Disappointment was a fake. Come here, toss it into the bonfire. At least it can warm your cold hands.
If you were to release yourself from the dream of endless summer, you might find the courage to walk away from a relationship that has naturally dissolved. You might embrace your sacred need to pause, sleep, or digest. You might even stop shooting your forehead up with botulism and dying your hair the color of childhood.
But trapped in this dream of everything forever, ignorance grows. Remember that the last thing Cleopatra was given was everything she wanted except her freedom. We all know what she chose.
The peace you’re looking for isn’t found in Beachland; it’s right here, right now. It’s inside your skin.
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