An Eclectic Human
A newsletter about design, community, and being a human

1.16 The raw liveliness of standing in a frigid wind

Utah has been unseasonably warm for the past two weeks. While my friends on the East Coast have been accumulating piles and piles of snow, Salt Lake has broken a handful of temperature records and made life generally quite pleasant.

Spring is my favorite season. It’s a reawakening of dormant nature, when the grass finally turns green and the trees start to get leaves. After the long winter, the excitement and promise of things to come re-energize me and give me a renewed appreciation for nature.

A while ago during a lunchtime walk, when it was not as warm as today, I thought about how delightful winter is in its own way. The brisk air cutting through the warmth of the sun, the stillness, the comfort of a thick coat and scarf. I was happy. Even with my anticipation of spring, I was content for it to be winter, to wear wool, to experience the raw liveliness of standing in a frigid wind.

This made me wonder about the difference between accepting this moment as it is and wanting it to change. Is there room for being content while also looking forward to something to come? Is there a difference between (generally positive) anticipation and (negative) discontentment with the present or fear of the future?

Anticipation often makes a cherished moment even more enjoyable, and it can make the memory months or years later that much sweeter. Perhaps my love of spring is more due to my annual winter anticipation than to spring’s real merits. Maybe I actually relish one of the other seasons more while I’m living it, but my memory is colored by the euphoria of looking forward to spring. A vernal hindsight bias.

Whatever it is, I’m giving more thought to being happy with my life and health and environment as they are today. And I’m leaving some room for the positive emotions from expecting good things in the future. Here’s to a happy winter and a delightful spring!

• • •

Is there room in mindfulness for both contentment and anticipation? Have you struck a similar balance in your own life?


Later article
1.17 At least