Are you feeling down? Lethargic? Perhaps your
bathroom scale points slightly toward the high
You may be suffering from SAD, Seasonal Affective
Disorder. SAD commonly affects millions of people
in northern climates in the late fall and winter.
Days are shorter. The sun doesn't shine much, if
at all. Your body doesn't produce the melatonin it
needs to feel right.
Last year Farmer's Almanac identified the five
worst winter weather cities: Cleveland, Detroit,
Duluth, Syracuse and Casper, Wyoming. Years ago I
heard about a town in the upper Midwest that went
six weeks into a new year before the sun made a
southwest Florida, where work's winter uniform
consists of shorts and a boating shirt, this is
the time of the year when I have to remind myself
not to phone friends up north and brag about our
pleasant weather, especially not when they're
getting cold fronts and not much sunshine. They're
already sad enough.
Fortunately, medical science has
prescribed a regimen for SAD. It includes light,
fresh air and cognitive therapy. Collectively this
is known as Cruising in Florida.
Florida, light therapy is automatic. After all,
Florida is the sunshine state. Florida is
practically synonymous with fresh air. Boating
supplies the cognitive therapy.
At the end of a satisfying day of cruising in
paradise and exploring Sanibel and its neighboring
islands you'll be sitting up on the fly bridge
watching the sun set beautifully over a scene that
might include roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets
and wood storks feeding on a flat at low tide.
Are you still depressed? I don't think so.
Now I should mention that from time to time our
prescription is not strong enough for severe cases
of the blahs. In these cases, we prescribe another
natural pill labeled 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?” Actually, it rarely rains in
Florida in the winter but we just tell them, “Oh,
we don’t charge extra for that.”
Not much was known about SAD back in 1984 when Vic
and I started Southwest Florida Yachts. But, born
and raised Midwesterners, we instinctively knew
that helping people cruise in Florida was the
ideal therapy for the sun-deprived.
For more than 100 years winter vacations in
Florida's sunshine have been the natural pill that
people from the north have ingested for SAD. Alas,
I fear that a lot of northern state boaters still
haven't learned this valuable lesson. They do not
have to be trapped by the weather or sloppy
thinking. While their harbors are iced up and
their boats are wrapped in tarps, they can still
tend to their boating addiction and their medical
issue in a meaningful way.
Hey. Don't be sad. Get out of there. Fly to Fort
Myers. We'll get your boat ready.