Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
…and it’s not even about Winter specifically. It’s more about Summer ending and a general psychological shift than anything else.
I suffer from a disease that affects many a night owl, but part-time freelancers are particularly prone to it. I’m speaking of notenoughtime-erosis (which I’ll call NET from now on because inventing acronyms is cool). You know how it goes. You have to do a million and one things and, on the best of days, you only have time for two.
Sometimes even half that.
NET symptoms (which may, and generally do, include headaches, panic attacks, lack of focus, and a lot of unfinished work) are exacerbated by a lot of things Summer brings along with it, including (but not limited to):
- Energy-sapping heat. I’m already drenched in sweat the moment I leave the bathroom after a shower. Now I have to sit down in front of my laptop in a leather chair and write three, 600-word articles while my bare skin (because how else am I gonna keep from melting?) slowly fuses with the aforementioned chair. My focus is already out the window before I even start.
- Boom of social events. I essentially work every night. There’s always a website or a blog somewhere that needs some words written and put on it. Whether it’s a client’s tech news website, my own project, or ten products that need descriptions, there’s something I need to do nearly every night. So when Summer rolls around and people start inviting me to a BBQ here and a pool party there, things start getting a little messy. I enjoy going out with friends as much as the next guy, but that means I need to rework my whole schedule which usually entails getting home from work and immediately jumping into freelance work before I pull off a magic show worthy quick-change and head out for a drink. Or ten.
- Other people enjoying summer. While being a freelance writer is something I thoroughly enjoy, and it’s rewarding in more ways than one, it’s also disheartening to see so many people enjoying themselves while I’m sitting inside working an extra four hours a day. The thought of stopping doesn’t register in my mind–I know I’m investing now for a better future–but watching a feed full of people eating frankfurters and frolicking at the beach does dampen the spirit somewhat. It’s not that I’d love to be there as much as it’s about them enjoying something that I am unable to enjoy, even if I wanted to. Strange? Maybe. But that’s why we call this a personal blog, not a white paper on why Winter kicks Summer’s ass every single year.
While all of the above (and more) are solved when Winter rolls around, none of these are the #1 reason I love Winter (or hate Summer). No… the one thing that truly helps mitigate my NET symptoms is something many don’t even consider:
Okay, so maybe I need to explain this one.
I do my freelance work at night. I guess I took the idea of moonlighting a bit too literally. I do this for various reasons, but mainly because 1. I do my best work at night, and 2. I want to spend my fiancée’s waking hours with my fiancée. So nighttime effectively triggers my “get to writing” switch. At night the world is silent. Car noises die out. People stop walking outside, yelling at each other. And neighbors (and family members) go to sleep. The house is quiet. It’s just me and my keyboard making noise.
Now Summer’s got quite the long days. Going by this chart, in July we have our latest sunset: 20:22. That’s when my mind starts registering that “get to work” response. And you know what? That is bloody late. By then, I’ve only got maybe 3 hours to go before I drop dead on my bed. Now you see, Summer’s bad for my notenoughtime-erosis.
On the other hand, as the weather starts to cool down, and Winter finally gets here, the days get shorter. Later sunrises and earlier sunsets. Sunset today was at 18:16 and we still have another hour and a half to lose before the days start getting longer again. In December, sunset will be at 16:48.
45 minutes before I even leave my full time job, my mind’s already getting geared for more work.
This means that when the same “get to work” response is triggered in Winter, it’s so much earlier and I’ve got so much more time to work with before I shut down. The psychological shift greatly dampens my NET symptoms
And I swear it’s not all in my head.
Earlier nights mean people go to sleep earlier. Colder nights means people don’t go out as much, leaving the world outside my little bubble that much quieter. I close my eyes and listen and all I hear is the nearly inaudible hum of a nearby hotel’s industrial air-conditioning units.
The incessant wub-wub-wub thumping of club subwoofers is gone.
The world is beautiful at night. So on behalf of all NET sufferers everywhere, I’d just like to say: Thanks, Winter. You’re awesome.