With apologies to the Christmas season (which I do love), the time of year when I typically experience the greatest and most consistent sense of well-being is the mid-to-late spring time period we are in right now. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s warm, and the days are getting longer. In case you care, here are my favorite seasons in order: spring, fall, summer, winter. I like change as long as it’s regular, predictable change, so the seasons in which the weather, plant life, and day length are going through obvious transformation are my favorite. Of those two, I prefer the spring for the obvious reason that everything is coming back to life. It’s not just the symbolism; I actually feel physically and mentally healthier (aside from pollen allergies) when the world is waking and warming up after the seemingly interminable winter.
- It’s a time for celebration. This is the most exciting time of year in my world of academia. I’ve always loved graduations, probably because I’m secretly British and therefore really enjoy pomp and ceremony (also “Pomp and Circumstance,” the graduation song). As a Harry Potter fan, I also appreciate long robes and funny hats. So even though I’m not a fan of crowds or of wearing heavy black garments in the blazing May sun, I enjoy putting on my doctoral regalia (for which I paid a hefty price in both effort and actual money) and marching around as a symbol of intellectual weightiness. Even more, I enjoy seeing graduates celebrate with their loved ones and anticipate the future with joy and hope. (Crap, I’m starting to cry!) I especially like the opportunities this time of year provides to see students share what they’ve learned and what they’re passionate about. (See my post on this from a couple of weeks ago.)
- I’m about to be a lot less busy. Another good thing about working in academia is that, for most of us, there’s not as much going on in the summer. I don’t truly get the summers off because I’m also an administrator and therefore on a 12-month contract, but I don’t teach on campus in the summer (I’ll have one online class), and the cycle of department, committee, and student meetings slows way down. So I’m looking forward to reading the backlog of books I’ve bought over the past few months, spending lots of time outdoors, going to bed early more often, and having adventures (or just passing time) with my favorite people, near and far (because I also have more time to travel in the summer). I got a little taste of that this past weekend when I had only a few children’s lit papers left to grade. Friday night I read a little bit of Jurassic Park (the book I’m reading for fun right now) and then went to bed at 9:30, with my windows open and my Thomas Newman Pandora station playing. Saturday morning I got up at 5:30, threw some clothes on, got an iced caramel mocha at McDonald’s, and headed to a local park, where I spent three hours. I did some yoga on the lake pier, walked around the lake (it’s more of a large pond), read my Bible and another book, and did some journaling. That may not sound like a fun morning to you, but I had a great time. And I still had the whole day ahead of me when I was finished! This is why I sometimes fantasize about being retired. Anyway, although point #3 has been, strictly speaking, about summer, I still count this as a reason why I love spring, because right now I’m just beginning to enjoy–and still anticipating–all the delights of the coming season.
Do you enjoy this time of year, and if so, why? (That feels like an essay prompt. It’s also final exam time.)