I have said it before and I'll say it again: August in the UAE is not that different from the depths of a harsh Canadian winter. I am as pale as a cadaver, my clothes are all too tight and all I feel like doing is laying around watching repeat episodes of all those shows that keep up with the Kardashians.
But while I never felt going outside when I lived in Canada's capital of Ottawa, where it gets seriously cold, the bottom line was that I could and if I did, I would be better for it. Much better. Once I realised that if I put on snowpants and braved it through 45 minutes, no matter how biting the wind or driving the snow, sometime in the last 30 seconds or so I would begin to feel more alive than I had ever thought possible. Once home and in my jammies I would feel so cosy, so happy and warm and lucky, that I would fall into the sleep of the dead and wake up the next morning a new, un-Seasonal Affective Disorder-ed woman.
Well, that's just not possible here, is it? The best I can hope for is a soggy, suffocating march down the Corniche. Fresh air is not happening. A promotion at work, while great, means that unlike previous summers, I am grounded until at least mid-autumn. And so, at a time when I have not been outside for more than five minutes since mid-June, when most years I have been days away from getting on a plane outta here just before veering into One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest territory, I am for once not going anywhere. I know, cry me a river, right? Well, I was about to last week. I hit a wall the day I was supposed to have been flying home Toronto when I overheard yet another colleague talk about how happy they were to be taking off soon. I am talking WALLS CLOSING IN, PEOPLE.
I've course this isn't something I haven't complained about before. Like here. And here. And here.
That's when I knew I needed a plan. And so now I have one and am executing it. I am not fasting, as my pet peeve is non-Muslims who dabble in something Muslims are fiercely committed to, for "the experience" (sense sarcastic air quotes; know I realise there are a variety of opinions out there on this). But I have committed to becoming a better person, to seeking forgiveness, compassion and understanding and to try and avoid petty disputes and breeding any sort of discontent. To achieve the sort of mood that is required to accomplish this, I promised myself that for 28 days in a row I would do twice daily meditation sessions and yoga. And that by August 28 I would be able to execute a comfortable five kilometres of treadmill running.
So far so good. Making a plan and sticking to it is one of the keys to contentment at any age, I figure, but it's even more refreshing when you get older and more set in your ways. Five days in, I can report that this plan is my path to bliss. August or February, actually, though even I am not in such an endorphin-soaked state to deny that at some point real life and a heightened social calendar will intervene.
Anyone out there have any summer survival tips? Any horror stories you want to share?