Mere Survival Effect

So I’m in Holland.

And I would just like to offer up a small prayer of gratitude to the person that invented heating.

And a curse to the power that be that decides to make that heating break down on -13 deg nights.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the cold affects us, even in our comfy privileged circumstances of a roof over our heads and a warm shower (sometimes) and hot microwaved soup or whatever.

Even when you realize you have all of those things, if you’re cold, and you’re clutching your cup of tea, and are surrounded by a million blankets, and are overloading your CPU in hopes of your computer warming up your legs a bit more, and STILL feel like your nose and toes are about to fall off, a certain survival instinct kicks in. But it’s not one of those “nothing else is as important as finding a way to get warm” things.

It’s more like “everything sucks about 500 times as much right now than it would if I were not freezing to my couch”.

It’s a very interesting effect. Of course, it’s common sense, just like when you catch a rare glimpse of sunshine and the cold air is not burning your skin anymore everything suddenly seems a little bit better.  But it’s more interesting to me how much the physical environment plays such a huge role on your mood and your ability to control your actions. How a week-long cold snap can wear you down both physically and mentally until you’re practically a stub of a person huddling in a corner, totally powerless and helpless.

I think it’s important to remember that the next time I feel completely awful in one way or another. I need to remember my environment – not only cold but also being in a messy room, or breathing stuffy air, or not eating properly. This is a good reminder that all that stuff actually matters.


About Varia

Traveler, writer.
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