“I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that when you realise that in life, you grow. You get better.”
(Steve Southerland, American politician)
Winter is a time typically spent indoors, not out in the world exploring. It is a time for hibernation and introspection. It is a time to drink hot soup, spend time with family indoors in front of the fireplace, make hearty stews, enjoy hot baths and lie in bed under the blankets.
However, if you are depressed or feeling a bit low, it is sometimes difficult to get out of bed, and to be productive. I would like to remind you that everyone has their winter days, and that it is perfectly alright and acceptable to have days where you can’t do much of anything. Just do what you can and feel proud of yourself for managing the small everyday things.
The best thing to do is to embrace the winter. Use this time wisely to take note of things that are going on in your life. Change things that need changing. Spend time examining your life goals and to grow yourself in some way so that when your next ‘season’ comes, you can grab it with both hands.
In life, winter can be an analogy for times when we take strain, when we struggle to adapt to any changes in our life, or when we go through serious bouts of illness.
Winter is indeed a taxing season, and to try and uplift your spirits is one of the hardest things to do. But just remember that no matter what, spring will come again!
Spring is the season of new things! New flowers grow, and plant life is green and colourful. Everything is renewed. The seasonal change is so good for our souls, especially if we have just gone through a tough time in winter. We now enjoy change in our life. We look at life through different eyes. We usually start with a diet to get our body ready for summer. We usually spring-clean our houses as we try to get rid of all the dust left over from the last stretch of winter.
The same viewpoint can be applied to our lives. We need to get rid of all the ‘dust’ in our lives, in other words, the things holding us back from progressing. Do a spring-clean of yourself. Redirect your energy to something new. Change for the good. Help someone in need. Plant a tree outside. Plant a new seed in your inner soul. Write down some new things that you want to do to, perhaps to better your relationship with your spouse, your children, or even your parents. Forgive and forget. Make amends. Life is too short to hold grudges.
This is a time where you finally feel as if you can do things again. So, go ahead and try new things, even if you fail… especially if you fail. One learns best through making mistakes. Just remember that mistakes can be a good thing. And don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect – no one can ever be perfect and that is alright.
For me, this is the best season in my life. I love the sun, the rain, the heat. To me, it just seems as though everybody is in a better mood. The sun comes up earlier; the sun sets later. We can enjoy swimming, braaing, socialising, or even getting married. We love to eat salads and light, simple meals. We love eating watermelon, which quenches our thirst. We drive with the wind blowing through our hair. Our children play outside in the garden. We go on holidays with our family. We want to gym, run, walk and be more active. This season is usually the season in which some of the best memories are made.
When you are in a summer season in your life, then everything is going well. You have no complaints, no health issues, no financial issues. All is well. This is a great time to help others in need. This is a time when you can give back and help where you can.
Summer is the opposite of winter. Whereas in winter you tend to focus inwards, in summer we tend to focus outwards. This is the time to be compassionate towards others who may be going through their own winter season. Never hesitate to reach out. Knowing someone out there cares is sometimes all that is needed.
We never want this season to end. Regrettably, all good things must come to an end.
In autumn, temperatures start dropping; the days start shortening. The beautiful thing about autumn is the different colours on the trees – green, yellow, red, brown leaves! It is amazing. It can actually be quite a tranquil and reflective time, when the winds of change start to stir.
When I am in an autumn stage of my life, then I have mixed emotions. One day I am happy, the next day I am sad or confused. Am I hot or am I cold? What do I wear?
This can be a confusing time in your life. I generally do not make any big decisions in my life when I am in this season as I am not quite sure what I really want. At this time, I go with the flow and ride the wave until I am settled.
Autumn is a time where outside influences may have control over your life, like illness or financial difficulties. All you can do in this time is to hang on in there. Do what you have to do to get through; it will be alright. Things will change eventually.
According to the writer Jennifer Williamson (2017), “As you enter a new season of expansion, it’s okay to be uncomfortable. New beginnings can be messy. Remember that all seasons of life, even the ones you like the least, represent new life. Hope can carry you through every phase, every season of your soul… that’s what hope does.”
And, as an education provider, we understand that our students also experience various ‘seasons’ throughout their studies. When the student struggles, it will of course be winter for them, but with lots of effort, planning and support, the student can change the season to a summer. This is a space where you can ‘control your seasons’ to some extent.
On a related note, recent studies (Cullen, 2018) have shown that writing exams under certain weather conditions can literally be detrimental to performance: “Researchers at several US universities analysed the test results of 10 million US students over a 13-year period and concluded there is a “significant” correlation between higher temperatures and lower school achievement.” I know when I wrote exams, I liked it if it was a cold and cloudy day. The cool, subdued weather helped me to concentrate better. However, the best part of this is that we are all not the same and different seasons will work for different occasions.
We are all in different seasons in our life – literally and metaphorically. The seasons are something that we can relate to as they form part of our everyday lives. However, the seasons in our lives won’t always appear in the order we expect them to be. This is because life is unpredictable – we can be in summer and then suddenly receive bad news, say goodbye to a family member and then, just like that, you can be in winter. The main thing to remember is that, just as time passes, the seasons pass too. Each one of the seasons is to be valued for the growth it brings.
And this is also why time is so important in our lives. Every minute of every day counts. Use them wisely. You never want to look back and regret not spending more time with someone, making peace where needed or handling situations differently. But one thing you will find is that you will get better or at least more ‘seasoned’ at this with time.
“Live each day, as if it was your last” - Steve Jobs
Cullen, D. (2018). Rain check on the sun: study finds hot weather negatively affects exam performance. [online] The Irish Times. Available at: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/rain-check-on-the-sun-study-finds-hot-weather-negatively-affects-exam-performance-1.3513538 [Accessed 11 Sep. 2019].
Williamson, J. (2017). 20 Quotes about Embracing All the Seasons of Life. [online] Healing Brave. Available at: https://healingbrave.com/blogs/all/quotes-embracing-seasons-of-life [Accessed 11 Sep. 2019].