Southwest Florida Yachts


Notes About Seasonal
Affective Disorder

By Barb Hansen
March 3, 2003

As I write this in February it is 81 degrees in N. Fort Myers and zero in Chicago. I am reminding myself not to call my boating friends in Chicago, Indianapolis, or Milwaukee (or anywhere else "up north") and brag about our Florida weather. I've done that before and most of the responses can't be repeated. One friend said, not kindly, "Do you feel better now?"

Now, having grown up in the Midwest, I know my friends don't consider themselves victims. Midwesterners exact pleasure (only, perverse pleasure) out of the fact that they can survive in a cold clime. In Wisconsin when somebody asked what we did in the summer, the standard reply was, "If it falls on a Sunday, we have a picnic."

That attempt at humor masked our Seasonal Affective Disorder. That diagnosis wasn't invented when I was growing up. We called it The Blahs. Either way, there is a pill that people from the north have been taking for SAD for more than a hundred years. It's called Florida sunshine. Put a boat in that picture. And yourself. That's the ultimate cure.

Sometimes, of course, sunshine does not cure The Blahs. In these cases, we prescribe another pill called Attitude Adjustment. Our kit of supplies for students at Florida Sailing & Cruising School includes a bumper sticker - Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. Vic and I adopted it after we heard more than a few students say things like, "What if it rains," or "What if we lose the wind." I tell them, "We don't charge extra for that."

Mother used to tell me, "It's all in your head." She was right. Remember the story about the kid who received a bucket of oats for his birthday? An optimist, he ran around the house, looking out of windows, and asked excitedly, "Where's the pony?" See? It's all in how you look at it. Say you're on a cruise and it starts to rain. Some will say to themselves, "Oh darn. It'll probably rain all day and ruin our cruise." Others, like me, will say, "Oh, good. Let's anchor in a cove, listen to the rain, and read a good book." We are not so much what we eat. We are what we think. The problem is not always Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's sloppy thinking.

Still, I find myself hoping my friends realize they do not have to be trapped by the weather or thinking patterns. While their harbors are iced up and their boats are wrapped in tarps, they can still tend to their boating addictions in a meaningful way. Hey. Get on a plane. Fly south. Get on a boat.

Think of it as the marine equivalent of starting cocktail hour at 5 p.m. instead of 6 because somewhere in the world it really is 6 o'clock. Yes, somewhere in the world, you could be soaking up warm sunshine and floating on blue water in the boat of your choice.

Come see us. Bring your children and grandchildren.

Click here to visit out Sailing School website!

Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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