When it is not five degrees outside with blustering wind so cold you question your need to trek to the dining hall for dinner, it is above freezing with cascading rain from above and melted slush at your feet, no winter coat quite prepared to protect you from the elements. That is the projection for this week, anyway. Winter cannot make up its mind.
It irritates me because I am a winter traditionalist of a sort. I have a narrow definition of what I think winter means as a Wisconsin native. Winter is neither too cold to be outside nor so warm that it rains. Most of all, winter is not without snow. Over the past few years however, the weather seems keen on challenging my definition of winter, with low temperatures and high temperatures seemingly falling all across the board except within the nice, comfortable range just below freezing.
This weather—which is nothing if not all over the place—reminds me a lot of how I’m feeling relative to this big, bad world: a whole lot of “all over the place”. It’s approaching midway through the academic year, my last one here at Lawrence. Come June, I have to have a plan/some semblance of a plan/a vague idea of where I will sleep at night/etc.
Meanwhile, I keep rationalizing my paralysis (read: avoidant thinking about the big things and how to get there) by focusing on anything but. Pretty soon winter will have made up its mind and left and I’ll be in the same place with much less time to spare. In order to avoid full-fledged panic, I’ve come to terms with not being as ambitious or forward thinking as others. Like everybody, sometimes I will be ahead of the game and other times way behind, but being all over the place (at least in your thought process) is not such a bad thing. It prevents having a narrow outlook that closes out opportunity and possibility, and instead keeps possibilities open.