Why it’s OK not to be OK!
Strip off, open all your windows and blast your favourite music at full volume so everyone can join the fun and enjoy the good vibes. Summertime, baby! It’s here and I’m loving it. …If you ever hear these words coming out of my mouth, I give you permission to crumble a cyanide pill into my iced coffee. I utterly despise summer, and apart from the aforementioned iced coffee there is absolutely nothing good about it. Nothing!
I know that most of you reading this will now declare me a miserable old humbug. That’s fine, because I also know that there are plenty of people out there just like me. And I’m here to tell you that in this celebrated season of the year, it’s OK not to be OK. I actually typed “hating summer” into Google the other day and was amazed by the results. Everyone from “Cosmopolitan” and “Vice” to “The Guardian” have articles on this subject. We summer haters might be a slightly odd breed, but it seems that we’re not in the least bit afraid to shout about it.
We, if you’re unacquainted with us, are the sensible ones – the people who don’t enjoy having to shower multiple times in a single day; the people who like to go for a walk without breaking into a profuse sweat; the people who prefer to just sit peacefully on the sofa and read a book or watch the box, without having to endure the neighbours’ “Summer Vibes” playlists, turning the street into a musical bonanza all day and all bloody night. We are the ones who don’t especially enjoy having our eyes prised open at six in the morning by piercing sunlight as it forces its way through every last nook and cranny in the curtains or shutters. (Oh, and we are also the ones who can’t afford a pool or air conditioning.)
It’s all very unpleasant, but what I find fascinating about this time of year is the way that it so clearly divides the nation. It’s extraordinary to observe, like the parting of the Red Sea, the whole population of the UK just split in two for a period of several months. On the one hand you have the fun-loving, extroverted, festival-going folk who adore nothing more than letting their hair down and running riot in the heat. On the other, you have the introverted types who just can’t wait for the chill of autumn to arrive so we can all batten down the hatches and go back to keeping ourselves to ourselves. This division is only becoming more pronounced as heatwaves become the norm courtesy of global warming. And at both poles of this personality spectrum you’ll even find people who are so affected by it all that they have a medically classified condition – seasonal affective disorder, appropriately shortened to “SAD”. The condition is most commonly associated with autumn and winter. It kicks in for many when the conkers start to fall and the world takes on that grey, slightly melancholy aura. It then peaks in winter, when the night seems to begin at 4.30 in the afternoon. But, apparently, it is also experienced in response to summer weather. The endless light, heat and sweat are, for many, just as bad as the endless darkness and cold in the winter. I can well believe it....
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