Observations and Musings

It’s November…and days are now remarkably shorter

Thanks to daylight savings time, these days it’s twilight by 5pm, dark by 6pm. On the other extreme, at the height of summer in June, I make dinner in what feels like the middle of the day at 8pm (flipped if you’re in the southern hemisphere). Days will continue to get shorter until Dec 21st (winter solstice), after which they’ll start getting longer again – on Dec 21st, the sun is supposed to set at 4:55pm in San Francisco 😦

Why do shorter days feel …. “not great”? What is it about the sun and warm sunshine, that instills a sense of “everything will be fine” in us? Why is it that once it gets dark, we’re filled with a sense of impending doom and gloom? A room filled with sunshine feels remarkably more inviting than one that’s cold and dark.

My sense of “the day is over” essentially begins once it gets dark. And so, around 5pm – 5:30pm, once it is dark, it’s easy for the brain to enter this state of cognitive dissonance – part of the brain is ready to call it a day, while the other is anxious about all the work that still remains to be done. What ensues is a struggle to get over that “day is over” feeling, and wrest as much as you can from the time remaining. Suffice to say, this is often an anxiety inducing exercise.

And yet….this time of the year has its own redeeming qualities. Warm drinks taste so much better and life giving. It’s the season of meeting family, gifting, long vacations, time spent rejuvenating ourselves, and thinking about what we want the next year to bring. Depending on which part of the world you live in, it’s also the season of snow, which can have its own charms.

I don’t have a good ending for this post except to say that I miss longer days. Some day I need to look into why daylight savings time was established in the first place.

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