Today is one of those days when times literally change. Unless you are in Arizona or Hawaii, you’ve miraculously gained an hour and are probably more discombobulated by this event than traveling across multiple time zones.
As a child I dreaded this day. I could not figure out why the light would concede to the dark and allow it to run the show for the next six months.
This fact fueled my decision to move to the Southwest where I could experience more sunlight in 365 days than I could in two decades of living in the Midwest.
The light is different in the Southwest. Even if its hours are limited, the sun makes no apologies for rising and shining as impressively and consistently as possible. During Iowa winters, the sun often seems hung over, as if it were having way too much fun Down Under to make an appearance here.
Despite repeated recitations of the Serenity Prayer, I railed against this perceived solar slight upon returning to the Midwest. In an attempt to follow the first two suggestions to accept what I cannot change and have the courage to change the things I can, I purchased a Happy Light to combat SAD by serving as a substitute for the sunlight I was so sadly lacking.
This is when the wisdom to know the difference, the third part of the Serenity Prayer, kicked in. Or maybe it was that song from The Byrds that played like an earworm every time the seasons changed reminding me for everything (Turn! Turn! Turn!) there is a season (Turn! Turn! Turn!) and a purpose under heaven.
It’s that purpose thing and possibly all that turning that had me befuddled for decades. But the great thing about midlife is what really matters makes itself known, the same way the exact location or precise name of everyday items makes itself an enigma.
All those u-turns, detours, and other distractions that were not mentioned on the map to Success City are what brought dimension, depth, appreciation, and ultimately illumination to the one I’m destined to follow, which frequently looks like a map to Funkytown.
With age also comes the realization that we can never change a person, place, or thing by loathing it. Dissing it – whether that be disliking immensely or disrespecting it – binds it to us like superglue.
So at the risk of sounding clique, as the days get shorter and the nights grow longer I’m attempting to embrace the idea that all I need is love… and a super-sized side order of grace.
After all, if these were pleasant people, places, or things, they’d be easy to love or forgive. The reason I wrestle with them is because they push my buttons. And not just one button occasionally. Within a 24-hour time period they can easily get on my last nerve.
This is why having a Happy Light – or your own personal equivalent – is essential. There are situations that require nothing less than a miracle. Left to my own devices, I’ll sit and stew in the dark for ages.
Even though I know better, I still find myself forgetting to shed a little light on the subject simply by asking for help from my Divine Assistance Team made up of any and all deities, patron saints, good dogs who’ve gone to heaven, mythological figures, loved ones, and favorite authors.
My first step is to no longer blame the light for conceding to the dark. The sun has a big job to do. But so does the night sky.
My work requires a good deal of hunkering down and hibernating before it can ever see the light of day. So today I fall back, grab my Happy Light, and look forward to harvesting the ideas that germinate as soon as the sun goes down.