It’s All Relative

(playing)

I had planned on doing a different post today. It’s mostly written, but it still needs some work. And I wasn’t in the mood to work. I’m in the mood to play. Because…

It’s 39° in Michigan.

It’s January 6th.

It’s not supposed to be 39° in Michigan on January 6th.

It’s supposed to be 9°. On a warm day. If the sun’s out. If we’re lucky. But it’s 39° and the skiff of snow from earlier this week (see my pretty picture here) has melted.

So what do Michiganders do when it’s 39° and there’s no snow on the ground? We go to the park. Because in Michigan, it could be 39° in June. It’s all relative.

If we were Floridians, we’d pull our jackets out at 70°, put our coats on at 60° and crank up the heat. And when it rarely hits 50°, we’d pull out the whole works–gloves, mittens, thermal underwear, handwarmers. But 39° in Florida? Forget it. Whole towns shut down. People run to the grocery store and stock up on food and water. (This might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much.)

But I don’t live in Florida. I live in Michigan.

My daughter without a coat. Notice the frozen pond in the background.

So I’m sitting on an old wooden bench, watching my three youngest swing, slide, and bask in the rare winter sun. It’s awesome! They only have half days on Friday anyway and so it took very little cajoling on their part to get me to agree. I simply looked at the temperature, the lack of snow, the bright sun and thought, “Why not?”

Because 39° is all relative.

As I look around this park, I see that half the kids aren’t wearing coats. At least four are in short-sleeved shirts–including my own son (see PPS below). I think the temperature has risen a few more degrees since I’ve started hand-writing this post, but still. Mid-40s is hardly short-sleeve shirt weather. Yet I love it. They love it. We’re all in heaven!

But as I’m sitting here, this question just hit me:

When moments come into my life that are the metaphorical equivalent of 39°, do I treat them like a Michigander or a *Floridian? Do I say, “Man, my life stinks. I hate this. Why can’t it just be warmer for once? Easier for once? Perfect for once?”

Or…

Do I possibly say, “Oh well. It’s all relative. Today is a beautiful day and from my experience–and those of others–I know it can be a lot worse. In fact, I can guarantee it’s going to get worse before it gets better, so I should enjoy the moment for what it is.”

I wish I acted more Michigander than *Floridian at least half the time. I’m not sure that I do. But I think we all know someone like that. You know the type. They could be in the hospital, out of a job, destitute and starving, and they still smile and say that life is good. I want to be one of those people. I want to learn that kind of happiness because really, things can always be worse. A lot worse.

So…I have a good life. A great life! Any problems I might have are small because it’s all relative.

And now that I’m done typing this post, it’s up to a whopping 47° which means it’s time to take the kids out for a bike ride.

Enjoy the nice weather!


PS–What about you? Are you a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person? Are you more Michigander in your outlook on life or *Floridian?

PPS (or is it PSS?)–I realize this post is ironic considering what I wrote about earlier this week (if you missed it, read it here). But really, that earlier post just proves my point. It’s WAY too cold in Michigan. I was freezing my tail off in those stupid shorts. Global warming hurry up! (Oh geez, no hate mail please. I was just kidding.)

PPPS (or PSSS–except that looks ridiculous)–I’m taking the weekend off from posting, so I’ll be back here Monday when I’ll be talking about the top 10 things I’ve learned as a writer. Until then, enjoy the nice weather!



*DISCLAIMER: The party writing this post has nothing against the people from Florida. Well, maybe she does, but it’s just because she envies their weather. It’s nothing personal. Plus, she just really loves the word “Floridian.” It’s very fun to say. And type.

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Author: Rebecca Belliston @rlbelliston

Hopeless romantic and author of CITIZENS OF LOGAN POND, SADIE and AUGUSTINA. Music nerd and composer of RELIGIOUS and CLASSICAL-STYLE music. I live in Michigan with my husband and five kids.

5 thoughts on “It’s All Relative”

  1. If you think people from Florida are wimps, you should meet my Arizonian daughter. :) It was 84 yesterday and she wasn't sure if it was warm enough for shorts. True story. I really liked this analogy though. It's really the way we should all look at our lives!

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  2. Haha, I can totally picture it. Man, you guys need to come visit so I can whip her into shape. :) Actually, it's funny how we adjust to temps here because when it dips below 70 in July, I want to throw on a jacket. Gotta love it. And btw, Michael's outside playing football in shorts and NO shoes. A true Michigander.

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  3. Just to help you not be too envious of Floridians I can tell you that today Michigan was Warmer than Orlando Florida! My aunt is there and it was only 42 today while we topped out at about 55.

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  4. Go Michigan! I actually did some yard work while the kids played in the sandbox. Yard work! On January 6th! So cool! And then some awesome neighbors and I chatted in the front yard. Go Michigan.

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