Matters of Life & Beth – Why Do I Live Here?

“Why do I live here?” is often the first thing I ask myself when temperatures dip below 40 degrees and our region is pelted with snow, rain or sleet on more days than it seems the sun will ever shine.

This winter, more than any other, I couldn’t get this off my mind. It all started on Christmas Day 2015, when not a flake of snow had fallen and it was unseasonably warm at 62 degrees. I could not have been happier. I hosted 18 family members with windows wide open and guests gathered on my screened-in porch. The sun was shining, fresh air was flowing and everyone was exuding a joyousness that, I am confident, had as much to do with the gorgeous weather as it did with the culmination of weeks of holiday preparations. I did overhear a few conversations lamenting a white Christmas. “If only we had a light dusting of snow,” someone said. I scoffed and thought: who needs it? Yes, my ski fanatic friends, I know you do, but not I — and I know I’m not alone.

I haven’t always despised winter, but have come to with age. I’m also not a big fan of New England’s hot and humid summer months. That probably has something to do with my frizz-prone curly hair. Regardless, I like the air I breathe to be warm, dry and pleasantly between 70 and 75 degrees. More than that, I like the cheerful energy that accompanies such climates. I often suggest that the West Coast would be the perfect place for me. My local friends balk and say, “Oh sure, if you like earthquakes, mudslides and wildfires.”

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Illustration by Ken Bonin.

I realize there are positives and negatives no matter where you live. So, in the spirit of positivity, I decided to take inventory of the good things that have kept me in Massachusetts my entire life. Bogged down with nasty weather negativity, my list formed slowly until I sought the help of others. I was pleased to hear what people had to say, and was soon out of my miserable mindset and reminded of the many reasons I’m happy to call New England home.

To begin with, my roots are here. I love being near the places and people of my childhood. I enjoy the memories conjured up when driving by the stomping grounds of my past, as well as bumping into old friends or neighbors. (If you didn’t grow up here, you might find the character of local folks and the unique charm of our New England architecture most appealing.)

I also love my home. I have worked hard to create a space that I adore, and I can’t imagine leaving. My daughters are still young, but I already have visions of grandchildren running around in my house. I wouldn’t want to walk away from that bright future.

Of all the good reasons to affirm why I live here, the four-season argument came up the most. I was reminded that the seasons aren’t just about dramatic shifts in weather or foliage. They also act as a natural quarterly checkpoint to get your life in order before the next round of weather rolls in.

And what about four-season fashions? My older daughter and her friends took the teen perspective, remarking that we have more variety in our wardrobes because we need to adapt our clothing to the ever-changing weather.

With that, I was sold, and pleasantly reminded of why I do want to live here, whether it is winter, spring summer or fall.

Beth Daigle is the editor of Merrimack Valley Home magazine and is currently working on her first book. Visit her new blog at 3OlivesandaTwist.com.

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