The Weather

Approaching the wind & rain with an “oh well!” attitude

Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Why is the weather always such a bummer?

On countless days, the wind has blown up my surf plans as it blow out the waves.
Too little snow means rocky-top skiing. Too much snow means backed up roads.
During my Little League glory days, the only redeeming factor of a “rain check” was that it would wash away my tears.

And the weather’s track record of ruining my day doesn’t stop at my hobbies:
The rain gets my socks all soggy as I schlep into work behind schedule.
The wind messes up my flow (even if I use a heroic amount of hair gel).

We go to the same barber

The snow can make walking through NYC unbearable… the slush picks up the grime of the city as its now-muddy hue resembles the do-do left behind by the dog-walking crew.

Let’s face it, most of the time, the weather really sucks. It makes little kids cry and comfy socks soggy. Why is it never ideal? Why can’t it ever just be the way I want it to be???

As I prepped to share The Second Time, I rewatched the movie, About Time.

Amidst all of the wisdom that’s packed into the plot, the opening scene reminded me of this admirable approach of the family:

By the time I was 21, we were still having tea on the beach every single day… no matter the weather.

And then every Friday evening a film… no matter the weather.

The scene shows the family scrambling to salvage their beachfront picnic and outdoor film festivities during a torrential British downpour. And yet… the whole time… they’re laughing.

Sure, it’s a bit of a panic as everything’s getting soaked. But their smiles are a signal of their “oh well!” attitude.

Years ago, I’d heard about Josh Waitzkin’s approach to the weather on The Tim Ferriss Show. Josh describes this ritual he has with his son, Jack (lightly edited for brevity):

One of the biggest mistakes that I observed… with parents is that they have this language around weather; weather being good or bad. Whenever it was raining, they’d be like, “it’s bad weather.” You’d hear moms, babysitters, dads talk about if “it’s bad weather, we can’t go out” or “if it’s good weather, we can go out…”

Jack and I never missed a single storm. Every rain storm… we go outside and romp in it. We developed this language around how beautiful it was.

So now whenever there’s a rainy day, Jack says, “Look, Da-Da. It’s such a beautiful rainy day. And we go out and we play in it.

I wanted him to have this internal locus of control. To not be reliant on external conditions being just so.

Ever since I heard that perspective, I treat it as a challenge to be unbothered by the elements. That’s part of the reason why you might find me walking the West Side Highway in flip flops (I also just love being as close to barefoot as is socially acceptable).

But even more than that, I play this game where I try to transition the day’s weather from being an annoyance to a joyance.

When it rains, I go running. I dance through the empty streets, jumping over puddles, and getting absolutely soaked as I take it all in stride.

When it’s windy, I’m reminded of my late friend, Henry. I just decided one day, while standing under a swaying tree, that the wind would remind me of his memory. So now, whenever I feel a gust, I smile, as I recall the laughs & the love.

These benefits aren’t exclusively mental. There’s some practical positives for the “bad” weather too.

The rain is like a car wash for the city. A much-needed reset. A sense of renewal. It washes away the grime, while feeding the plants that’ll bloom in springtime.

The wind… well, the wind just blows…

I kid. I kid.

When running into the wind, I treat it like a training partner, pushing back on my body & challenging me to get better. With the wind at my back, it’s filling my sails (and my ego), as I gas up my Strava split times.

I guess that’s why they call it the “Windy City”

This is not an indisputable proof:
Rainy day —> day ruined

It’s just on me to look up at the cloud’s silver lining as it drenches me.

The outdoor adventurers have a saying:

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.

I would layer on the following:

Everyday’s a beautiful day if you pack your own sunshine.

Umbrella vs New Hampshire squall

It’s not to say that the weather doesn’t matter. I’ve just realized that it’s hard to have the best day ever, if I’m worried about the weather.

So, what’s stopping you from adopting an “oh-well!” attitude?

Can you transform the elements from being an annoyance to a joyance?

A P.S. PSA - for all the folks in NYC, this also applies to humidity ;)

Join the conversation

or to participate.