When I was forty years old, we moved to the Seattle area from DC for a new job. A few of my friends, one of them a meteorologist, said, “You know it’s really very grey and rainy most of the time. You might want to reconsider your decision.” I had studied the area and decided that certainly the weather wasn’t going to stop me with so many other good things to consider. ‘Quality of life in the Pacific NW’ was my mantra. It was a difficult move and a challenging job, but we settled into the place. The people were a bit myopic about their NW emerald city, and if newcomers couldn’t understand it they could just leave. It was difficult to wrap your brain around this attitude when many of the people were so smart, working at some of the most innovative companies in the country clustered together in one place. Oddly provincial I thought. There was also this kind of passive aggressive attitude. People were outwardly very nice and polite, so much so that you never were quite sure where they stood on an issue. They could be telling you ‘no’ so politely that you thought it was ‘yes. ‘I found myself acclimating, in fact adopting a bit of this passive aggressive stance.
And the weather was relentless. It was grey ad nauseum until July when the place was heaven on earth. Sunshine daily and light for 18 hours a day. No rain until October. Then it was over. Nine months of grey and rain with three months of sunshine. So, the tendency was, well, grey and rainy. That’s the nature of weather and climate in the Pacific NW.
After eight years Disney offered me a job in Orlando, Florida. From the minute we landed in Florida I was giddy with joy. Sunlight and warmth flooded my life most days with very few grey periods. See, warmth and sunshine reflect the climatic tendency in Florida. The people seemed more diverse too and accepting, a bit more of an East Coast vibe. And, you knew where you stood with people. I found myself becoming bolder about where I stood on issues, big and small.
So, here’s what I learned from my experience with the weather. We have many choices while we live on this earth, and not just choices about where we live. We may be living with people who do not have our best interests at heart or are negative or even abusive. That may just be their tendency, and over time, they may stay that way, especially if it works for them and they aren’t challenged to change. Yet some of us try to make things work like living in places where the weather and even people just don’t work for our personality. Many times, we just settle in and accept our situation even though we keep bumping the same wall over and over as though we have no choice. And, many times, we blame ourselves. “I should learn to love these grey skies and this wet, cold climate.” But it’s not who we are.
We have every right- a God given right- after years of trying to ‘accept our fate’ to be in a place of sunlight, with people who love, accept and support our dreams and hopes without berating us and minimizing our desires, no matter how big or small. You may find that you really can be happier with someone else who ‘gets you,’ or even alone. Stop telling yourself: “this is my fate for better or worse. I just need to accept it. No, you don’t. You don’t know how good it can get, just like that Florida sun. Until we moved to Florida, we didn’t know how great things really could be. Why should other parts of life be any different? This is not a flighty ‘grass is greener’ idea. This is making a grounded decision after years of trying to make things work.
At the very least, risk the chance to see. The cage door has always been open, maybe you should give yourself the chance to walk out of it into the sunlight.