I think I have S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or maybe it’s more accurately for me “Single Affective Disorder?”
When you are little you are taught that there are four seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. This fact is reinforced with decorations on bulletin boards in classrooms, the colors of paints you use in art class and other random lessons. You know, if you lived where there are climate changes, that once Mom busted out the sweaters and cords, it was fall. When you had to try on last year’s coat (in hopes it didn’t fit so you could get a new one) it was Winter. Once the pastel colors came out, Spring was finally there and then it was just a hop, skip and a jump to Summer. There was organization to this, it all made sense.
Then you hit High School and the seasons become Football, Basketball, Baseball and Summer, There are mini seasons in there too, Winter Dance season, Homecoming season, Prom season. These too, made sense. There was a consistency to it all. Everyone in your daily life was on the same schedule.
College comes and it is more about the seasons of “Party Outside” and “Party Inside” with Spring Break thrown in for good measure. Things weren’t quite as clear cut as they had been, but there were always specific things to look forward to based on the calendar. Semester breaks, end of dreadful classes (seriously, Human Sexuality should have been MUCH better, especially when most of the baseball team was in the class, but alas, it was not!) and eventually the end of college and the long awaited leap into adulthood. Really, if given the chance, rethink the leap.
Now you’re an adult. WOO HOO! Sure, there is no more homework (well, not as much, depending on the job you get) and you can stay out all night, any night (which you could also do in college) but you don’t do that because you have to get up and go to work. The seasons become less and less pronounced. Spending most of your time in a climate controlled office building, you clothing is dictated more by the HVAC system then anything else. You start to notice that you get less and less access to actual daylight as the seasons move into Fall and Winter. There may even come days when you leave in the dark and come home in the dark. The seasonal change loses some of its romance.
As a single person with no children, you will most likely have other “seasonal issues.” When you are single, you don’t play into many of the societal ideas on seasons as those who are part of a couple or have children. You don’t have your annual apple picking trip (seriously, I have married friends who do this!), you don’t have the big Spring cleaning weekend, the planning of the Summer trip, the choosing of the Christmas tree. Sure, you can do all of these things, but doing them alone loses a large portion of the ceremony. Yeah, these are also things you can do in a group, but when you notice that your group changes every year, it can be a tad sad. You may start longing for the days when everyone around you was on the same schedule. You all had picture day, and the first football game and the last day of school, etc where you knew that all the people you cared about and wanted to be with were going to be there with you.
My suggestion for us single folk (and yes, it’s for me as much as, if not more so, then anyone else) as we watch the Summer fade away and the Fall take over, is to buy a new sweater that you feel cozy and good looking in. Take your dog for a walk in the piles of fallen leaves (or yourself if a dog isn’t available) find a sidewalk café where you can sit in your new sweater sipping a tasty warm cider, enjoying the warm Fall sun with a smile on your face. Make it a point to celebrate the changes of the season some way, any way you can. And for goodness sake, help to change the idea that “single” is a bad word.