It’s only three days into “official” summer, but already I’m beginning to wonder exactly why I was looking forward to it so much. Don’t get me wrong: I’m enjoying the fresh produce, the way it stays light outside until well past 8:00, and the more relaxed pace that summer brings. What I’m not enjoying is the intense heat and humidity that has arrived and seems to be intent on sticking around, just like an uninvited and obnoxious house guest. Maybe it’s my age, but I’m not handling the heat nearly as well as I usually do, which means that when I’m finished walking shelter dogs or doing a couple hours of yard work, I’m both cranky and exhausted. I tend to park myself in front of the nearest air conditioning vent, thinking of all the things I’m supposed to be accomplishing with the rest of my day, and basically deciding that each and every one of them is too much trouble bother with.
After a couple hours of sitting in the cool inside air and wallowing in intense self-pity, I manage to get up and get on with the duties of the day, but even then, everything seems to require much more effort than it normally does. I think back in wonder to the days of my childhood, when central air-conditioning was a rare thing, and I somehow not only survived the summer, but actually enjoyed it, living in a house that was cooled only by fans and, eventually, a single window AC unit installed in our dining room. Was I more resilient back then? Or simply too busy playing with my friends to notice the wilting heat? Those afternoons spent splashing in the little plastic wading pool were rather nice.
I know that eventually, I’ll get used to the heat and humidity….probably the day just before the heatwave breaks. Until then, I’ll do my best to soldier on. The shelter dogs need me (and all the other volunteers) to go down to the shelter to make sure the dogs get their share of potty breaks, walks, training, and socialization while they wait for their turn to be adopted. The flowers and shrubs in our yard need care and watering to make it through the summer , and the weeds are actually thriving in this heat, so putting off yard work until September is simply not an option.
I also have to accept that this might be my “new normal” physically, and that I have reached the age where I no longer adjust to extreme temperatures as well as I used to. (I have heard there are advantages to aging, but sometimes find that one hard to believe.) If that’s the case, then I’ll simply adapt, the same way I have adapted to my fading eyesight, my wrinkled and sagging neckline, and the ache I am beginning to feel in my hips whenever I exert myself a bit too much. No one ever said growing older was going to be easy, and we all know it’s so much better than the alternative.