I have a love-hate relationship with the weather.
Let’s focus on the love part first. I am a New Englander, born and raised, and have a deep appreciation for four distinct seasons and all that comes with them: the crisp golds and crimsons of autumn leaves; the first snow fall that leaves lacy patterns etched on the windows; the heady scent of hyacinth and freshly mowed grass in spring’s thaw; the nostalgic smell of salt water and suntan lotion that is quintessentially summer on Cape Cod.
As a person of extremes, perhaps it is not all that surprising that I love the extremes of life here, from the bitterly cold winter nights that require extra blankets, to the lazy, languid August days that call for iced tea and air conditioners. Just as my internal clock is largely set to semester-time, it too follows the calendar. Fall always feels like a fresh start, summer the time to catch up.
The thing is, though, weather doesn’t agree with me all that well. The winter season—okay, to be honest, this now stretches from Oct-May for my body—known for colds and viruses destroys me. I can usually count on one hand the days I am not acutely sick. My temperamental lungs respond violently to rapid fluctuations in the weather, so those weeks when summer turns into fall and winter turns into spring and the conditions go back and forth are always bumpy. And while summer usually means respite from the constant infections, humidity is horrible for my breathing, meaning on bad days I cannot take a breath outside.
Of course, not every day is humid; as I told my lung doctor yesterday, I have very good days and very bad ones in the summer so I capitalize on the good ones.
When I was really, really sick in high school (like missing months of school sick) my doctors suggested taking a year off and moving to Arizona to see if the climate helped my dysfunctional immune system. I refused because I didn’t want to give up my class rank (yes I was a bit crazy) and I don’t regret it. I spent a vacation in Arizona and wheezed the whole time anyway.
But now and again I do wonder if a different climate would suit me better. I lived in Washington, DC for a few years and really missed the sharp changes in season we get here in Boston. The climate there was soupy, swampy, and suffocating, and I’ve never spent more time as an inpatient than I did then. I adored living in Dublin and the cool, consistent weather was actually quite favorable, but there’s that little matter of it being just a tad far away.
Everything is a trade off. The cost of living is intense here, but there’s reason enough for that. Perhaps I would have fewer bad days (but who knows, really) somewhere else, but there are so many other things that go into our life choices: here we have extended family, friends, and a support network. That is always important, but especially important when you’re in a high-risk pregnancy and about to raise a child while chronically ill. It is a great area in terms of opportunities for my career. We live literally 10 minutes from one of the best hospitals in the world, where all my doctors are just a few floors apart. (Since I am there every week, this comes in handy).
So I’ll take the weather extremes in hand. Plus, if you’ve ever seen Boston in April or a Cape Cod sunset, you’ll know why it’s worth it.
Do seasonal changes affect your health and if so, how do you compensate? Does your health at least partially dictate where you live?