It's Saturday morning and I'm enjoying one of those much relished down times. Everyone else in the house is asleep, and I'm sitting at the dining room table writing and listening to the rain. It's incredibly peaceful, and it in fact is what inspired me to write.
I'm traditionally a sun worshipper. I love all things warm and sunny, and particularly dislike cold, dreary days. I assume I'm not alone in this. However, as I've gotten older, and perhaps as cyclothymia has played more of a role in my every day life, I have noticed a few shifts in myself. I certainly still mind the rain if it's going to ruin outdoor plans (or my daily commute), or if it continues for days on end and I start getting cabin fever, get the urge to build an arc, etc. But on most other occasions, I've lately enjoyed the rain. There's something melodic about hearing it beat on the windows and the roof. It draws me in, as if it's a meditation metronome, forcing me to just focus on the sound and quiet my brain. Maybe it's relaxing in that it provides the perfect excuse for not doing much. If it's warm and sunny, I feel lazy if I sit around in my pajamas writing, reading and drinking coffee. If it's raining and dreary, it seems perfectly ok to say "well, what else could I do really? Guess I'll just relax". Why work on the computer isn't possible in the rain, I don't know, but somehow, it seems an excuse for pushing even that aside.
Perhaps some of it is nostalgia. Rain in the car, especially at night (and especially when I'm not the one driving) reminds me of childhood trips to Buffalo to see my grandmother. We always left after work and drove through the night, arriving around 2 AM. It seemed no trip was complete without hearing rain on car windows and the sound of the tires rolling through water left on the roads. I have a flashback to those trips, us pulling off at some local exit, probably in Cortland, Binghamton, Syracuse, to grab fast food at 11 PM because it was the only thing open. Riding in the car in the rain at night immediately makes me want to curl up in the back seat with my blanket and pillow and play the license plate game until I fall asleep. I usually don't do this at the request of my fellow travel companion(s), and these days I get queasy in the back seat, but if I could, I probably would.
I've noticed this same shift lately in my appreciation of the countryside and nature in general. Lately, I've longed to be outside hiking, or kayaking, or just listening to the sounds of the birds and the crickets (but not the bears). I've loved being away from technology, in places where I can't even get a phone signal - albeit for a limited time of a day or two. Don't get me wrong, I still love the hustle and bustle of the city. But escaping to places where you feel like you can't help but unwind, put down your electronics, and actually relax and communicate with each other in person, is something I've been enjoying more and more.
I wonder if much of this shift has to do with all of the nonsense that goes on in my brain daily. And by nonsense, I mean cycling. Perhaps the inability to escape constant stimulation internally makes me desire it that much more externally. My brain actually feels quieter when I'm sitting here writing with the rain rapping on the windows, or when I'm hiking with only the sounds of nature and the voices of the people I'm with. Maybe it's simply age that helps me appreciate the ability to slow down. Whatever it is, I need to follow it. It makes me calmer, more peaceful, and miraculously almost makes me feel like a normal human being. If you've ever felt hypomanic, you know how amazing it feels not to be - and not only to eliminate hypomania for a few moments, but to do so by being peaceful, rather than by being depressed.
So I think I'll sign off and enjoy this rainy contemplation while I can. I'm looking forward to plans with friends a little later, but for now, I'll let myself sip coffee in my pajamas and detach.