Confession: This post is not as straightforward as most of the things we discuss on this blog.
But, the other day, inspiration struck.
You see, we had been dealing with day. After day. After day. Of rain. It was like that scene from Forrest Gump where he was in Vietnam, except without the whole war thing.
Now, those in the office who’ve spent years around me know that rain is the death knell to my happiness. If we have three or four cloudy days in a row, everybody just starts avoiding me entirely, stepping through my door only to deliver junk food, as though I’m the Babadook.
Unfortunately, one of our engineers had never been given this warning.
As such, the poor man comes in in the morning and starts to make polite small talk, completely unaware of what’s about to transpire. Before he knows what’s happening, he’s getting to listen to an entire diatribe about how much I hate everyone and everything, and about how my entire life has been a waste, and how I really think every single one of my neighbors ought to shove it.
In shock, he just starts to stutter for a moment before asking the polite questions, trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.
It was at that time that John walked by, and simply advised that we both look out the window.
It was raining.
As a longtime veteran of my rainy day moods, John advised our poor engineer that I’m basically a giant solar panel: Great and fabulously productive when it’s sunny, but pretty much a useless piece of sadness when it rains.*
This got us all to thinking: Are people not all giant solar panels?
On a completely basic level, we need the sun to live.
We need the sun to grow our crops and heat the planet and all of that, yes, but we also need the sun to properly process all of the vitamins and minerals we take in.
Moreover, the sun does impact our moods and productivity. There’s a reason that people talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder and the winter blues. There’s a reason that when it rains, we all just want to curl up and take a nap (or explain to the engineering department why everything in life sucks).
Just as how the sun creates a series of chemical reactions in photovoltaic panels, it also sets off a series of chemical reactions in our brains, and without it, we don’t produce as much serotonin. Our melatonin levels rise and fall at the wrong times. We become draggy, and cranky, and we want to sleep when we’re supposed to be working; only to stare at the television for hours when we’re supposed to be sleeping.
We do, as it turns out, run on solar.
*Our marketing department just corrected me, and said not to label solar panels as ‘sad’ or ‘useless’. Then, looking out their own windows as the downpour continued, they were quick to add that I’m also not ‘sad and useless’, but rather ‘slightly more attuned to the unfortunate nuances of life, but still really, really wonderful’.