Everywhere, absolutely everywhere of sufficiently varied weather conditions, I hear of weather complaints. The topic surges especially among those exposed to news, internet and other nagging complainers. Across the middle class the topic is a near guarantee.
Rio de Janeiro is no exception. I hear of such complaints all over. Strolling along the street, at a restaurant table, half a city block away, such chatter finds it’s way to my ears. And this comes from folk who seem to have long inhabited the party capital.
But does it not sound even a bit alluring to become less physically and emotionally permeable to something that you have no control over? To remain indifferent to something bound to occur all the time - any (or every) day, week, month, year?
If you are such a complainer, odds are the attitude permeates across many domains. Odds are you tend to find problems with all manner of unpleasantries and disturbances. And it’s just a bit upsetting that enshrouded within the outcries occasionally lies a legitimate point that may, regretfully, pass discredited by your listener in consequence of the nonconstructive demeanor.
I occasionally encounter non-complainers. Non-complainers in the traditional sense. Individuals of the kind that even when they voice problems or concerns, they do so in a subtly constructive manner - with a smile, informatively, in a way that suggests that in reality, their mind is driven to more substantial issues over which they have control. These are not suppressed individuals. On the contrary, they showcase vulnerability and earnestness. But they simply tend to communicate constructively. I’m drawn to such people. The trait tends to represent an area of commonality among those with whom I maintain long term relation. And I tend to not hear much of weather from them.
I too passed significant time beset by the complaining fever. I too voiced inconsequential concerns lacking resolve or merit. And I probably distanced a share of constructive thinkers in consequence. Fortunately, I’ve done much to improve, the key being the mere recognition and taking conscious acknowledgement.
An overall complaining mindset warrants broader inward exploration. But I can offer some strategies to help foster a weather-ambivalent attitude.
Between my birthplace of Minsk, Belarus, and Chicago, US, I lived about 17-18 years in savage winter conditions. As a child in Belarus, I enjoyed winters. Children don’t generally complain about weather. They explore and play. It’s in the adult years that we contract the complainer epidemic.
In my later 20’s in Chicago, already a seasoned complainer, I adapted a different winter attitude. In the common vernacular, it’s called “fuck off, weather.”
I wanted to become one with the winter, with the snow, with the frost, with the sleet, and with the merciless wind. I evoked every visual at my disposal. I imagined a figure that roams the brutal winter landscape unconcernedly, defiantly, triumphally. And I covered respectable distances on foot, all over, all the time. I walked whenever and wherever possible. I walked faster to keep the blood pulsating. The sensitive ears, neck and hands thoroughly enclosed, everything else seemed but a slight nuisance.
Without a car, pedestrian movement seemed only natural. But even with car ownership, nothing strictly prohibits your exploration on foot.
That’s the key. Rather than avoid, seek. Embrace. Expose yourself. Be physically mobile. Exercise and keep the body strong. Run outside in any conditions. (I once participated in a few-mile race during an angry snowstorm, ground full of sleet, wind ablaze, atmosphere full of thick, mushy show flakes.) Desire to be out there, harshness and discomfort irrelevant. Recognize the beauty in it. View it as a natural extension of your identity.
That marked one period. I also spent years exposed to warmth. My years in Atlanta (southern US) didn’t present anything memorable, but the time in Asia and Latin America (into my 30’s) trained the body to adapt to heat extremities.
It wasn’t merely a question of time, although much time the journey demanded. Much more time, considering my winter roots.
Similar to cold climates, I had to take active measures to mold myself into a tropical creature. I had to assimilate it into my identity. The challenge once again called for visuals. I imagined myself as a nomadic desert personage. A figure that doesn’t waste further energy sunk in complaints, but one who occupies the landscape proudly, naturally, as if there was no other alternative.
Let others fend off heat, hide indoors, and take siesta naps. You need but remain oblivious and continue your crusade. The heat scorched landscape is your playground. The direct sunlight, the clear sky, the enduring tropical growth are your comradery.
It helps to exercise and be fit. It helps to be lighter, which calls for quality nutrition. Unnecessary kilograms (or pounds) shall do you no justice in tropical settings. In fact, being fit and well-nourished pays off economically across the board.
Exercise outside. Exercise in the cusp of afternoon heat from time to time. Don’t go overboard. But don’t be too gentle either. Go on hikes, and not only in pleasantly shaded parks. Incorporate barren sun-scorched landscapes. Remember your visual.
Lastly, something I cannot enough recommend. Ice-cold showers. One, they have tremendously helped me to domesticate certain aversion to physical discomfort. But not only that, an ice-cold shower serves as a powerful stimulant. More stark than caffeine.
In my earlier writings, I used to recommend even slightly cold water for those entirely uninitiated in the habit. In the early stages, they prove quiet impactful. But after much time and consistency (in my case, much indeed), you eventually become impervious to them. Even slight warmth no longer triggers that shocking blood flow.
I’ve become an addict to cold, piercing streams of water. And you might as well. Take deep breaths and embrace it. Only consult your medic in case of health concerns. Or sue me.
Questions, comments? Connect.