Updated: Feb 16
I used to hate the rain. And I mean properly hate; the shortest shower would panic me into finding anything to shelter myself from (a coat, a bag, any kind of tree I could duck behind). I hated the feeling of rain on my skin - particularly on my head/scalp and hands - and did everything possible to avoid ever being caught out in a downpour – which is easier said than done in the UK…
Now, I don’t love the rain as such, but have definitely found a newer appreciation for it as I’ve gotten older. The end of 2019 in particular saw some pretty groggy days with heavy (*cough, torrential) rainfall, and I was lucky enough to be caught out in a downpour one walk home in November.
On the day in question - rain relentless and unforgiving at around 4pm - the route taken involved a short cut-through a car park. As I was avoiding cars to rejoin the path, there was such a beautiful and slightly muted low-light of the sun behind the clouds, turning them all pastel-y yellow and lilac. There were still a few leaves to fall at the edge of the car park as well, creating an almost orange confetti outline, adding to such an overload of colour, and bizarre-ness of beauty in the otherwise bleak scenario of a downpour in dreary tarmac.
I felt there were all these wonders of nature all around, antithetical to one of the most urban spaces near where I live, purely built for modern convenience and to serve our needs (mine included, love a good Sainsbury's). And yet I felt more fulfilled by the variant nature and sheer joy in seeing the light in the otherwise grey, dull and miserable weather. It is experiences like this that I am grateful to have, for they give me an even deeper – and otherwise unexplored – appreciation for nature.
So whilst all this is lovely and picturesque and wonderful, I feel I am being a bit hypocritical here, so for that, I’m sorry. Whilst all this stunning nature was around me, I was deeply conscious of my elbow pressed firmly against my ribs to keep the top of my open bag shut. I had my laptop inside and did not want it to be destroyed from the rain. I’m trying to let go of the importance I’ve placed on material objects, and to learn to live more simplistically - but yet my laptop (one of the most fundamental pieces of kit in the modern writer’s toolbox) was what I, ultiamtely, cared about most.
This seems to go against everything I’m practising and trying to stand for; I was literally praying ‘please can my laptop still work by the time I get home’, so dependent on this one item because my whole working life (applications, essays, all my writing, projects, website layouts and plans) – not to mention personal photos and documents - are kept on that (moderately) easy-to-replace, piece of tech.
Maybe the real realisation is that I desperately need to fork out another however much it is on a hard drive and back the fuck up everything on my laptop. Or buy a bag that closes at the top and isn’t made of canvas (that might help).
However, it also just reminded me that issues in life are confusing, and we have to muddle our way through to find our balance - our norm that works with our lifestyle and for us. I can still live a simpler life and own a laptop (hurrah!), I just maybe need to learn not to give this one item such high importance. And prepare for when it, eventually, stops working (ahem**buy a hard drive**).
I feel the broader concepts - such as 'minimalism', 'simplicity', 'happiness' (ugh) – that are so often talked about in our modern society, are difficult to achieve outright. We are all forever learning and changing and modifying our approaches; for example, literally half a year ago, I would’ve missed out this walk entirely, choosing to wait a few extra hours where I was for my partner to finish work so I could get a lift back – just to avoid walking in the rain (and because I was lazier and his car is really cool).
Go at your own pace and find your own rhythm because that is the only way you will make real change. This walk solidified a big feeling of mine at the moment, of wanting to do good for other people by working in a way that helps others. I need a shift in mentality, and this need to work for others has all come from nature and grounding myself to what really matters in this world. I am still trying to figure it all and find balance (I’m unsure as to whether this is attainable for me) but working with the motive of protecting where we all are (earth) and how I personally approach material/transitory items seems a good place to start, as this will hopefully help me understand how I approach others.
Life is short and it feels too long for me. I am trying to find beauty and precious enjoyment in a life I (largely) loathe: this evening was a clear example of that. I’d had a pretty bad day, felt awful and very wrapped up in myself. But all that festering hatred was shoved to the back of my mind for twenty minutes; still there, but somehow unimportant. Because I was so focused on my beautiful surroundings which, when overlooked, just appear ordinary, dull and grey.
In summary: I now appreciate the rain, I am grateful to God that my laptop survived and is (seemingly) running smoothly and without a hitch, balance is different for everyone and I need to find, make or work with my own version - which will subsequently be hard, contradictory, but ultimately more rewarding than the chaos of a life I’m evolving from.
Until next time, H.M.
p.s. I appreciate that this is one muddled-old blog post. But I guess that whilst I have the opportunity to spew my thoughts out for everyone to read, I might as well milk the moment and confuse you all along with myself. And to be honest, it’s helping me to try to find some clarity in the otherwise over-crowded space in my head. Somehow, I’ve made a connection between the rain and laptops and learning to let go of the material. Or maybe I just think too much and this post is evidence I need to slow down…either way, I hope you enjoy a semi-pretentious rant, please let me know if you do by leaving me a comment or getting in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References and Further Reading:
- All images are taken from my personal VSCO here. I took no pictures of the day in question, so had to find some very old pictures of rain on windows because finding anything remotely related to this post amongst my photos was very difficult. So, sorry about that.
- I found Kamea Chayne's 'Green Dreamer' podcast (I listen on Spotify, but I believe it can be found on all good podcasts channels) and The Minimalist's 'Minamalism: A documentary' (which I watched on Netflix) very helpful sources, amongst others, for introducing me to a simpler lifestyle and for providing manageable ways to help better my relationships and approach to others.
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