By: Lex Jacobson
There is a pretty persistent stereotype about Canada being a cold and dark country with endless snowy winters. (Further stereotypes include Canadians who live in igloos fueled by whale fat who get around their villages on dogsleds. You’d be surprised at how much we actually get questions about the latter. Seriously.)
Yes, Canadian winters are cold, but our summers are fabulous. Well, they usually are. Or can be. But I’m sitting here in my apartment, listening to the rain come down hard on the deck for the seventh day in a row. Eight days ago, we had glorious sunshine, for a streak of two days. Before that, it’s rained/snowed since last October.
The thing about Canada is that the summers make you fall in love with the country you’ve learned to hate throughout the winter. It happens every year. Each January, I dream of moving to South Carolina or Florida, yet at the beginning of each summer, I can’t imagine being anywhere but in the Canadian wilderness. But the love-fest with summer always happens too fast.
Struggling with depression, my summers are vital to my health. Though I don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the constant gray certainly gets to me and does affect my mood. I can count on one hand the pairs of shorts I own. The crappy $3 flip-flops I buy at Old Navy sadly last me three or four seasons.
In university, my roommates and I used to hold a tanning contest that started on May 1st. The person who was the darkest by August 31st won bragging rights for the winter. We spent many a day lying out in the backyard with olive oil rubbed thick all over our bodies. As a younger kid, I spent entire days out in the sun during the summers, and now, you’d be strained to find a child at the playground without a sun hat on over their 100 SPF-covered heads. I look at these kids in full-length shirts and pants, overheating at the park, and feel sad that the world will never really be the same.
I am the first to admit that I don’t get outside as often as I should. It takes effort and I can imagine that with a child, that effort is twofold or more. I tell myself I am quite happy to stay within the four walls of my living room for an entire weekend, but will always feel a little restless on Sunday afternoon (yet I don’t change anything the following weekend). I bring cabin fever on, easily. I’m scared that once I have a child, it will be tougher and tougher to get out the door, but if I don’t make that effort, I will be at a higher risk of postpartum depression.
I tend to spiral very easily into isolation, and I have to be über careful that I don’t wallow in my own shit as often when I become a mum. I know even now that I am going to need extra help to go out and enjoy the world… or to at least be in it. Thank god for wonderful partners, nagging mothers, and a raft of good, fun friends.
I’m almost ready… just bring on the sun! (oh, and a baby…)