BY M.A. TARPINIAN
“Now is the winter of our discontent”… probably one of Shakespeare’s most recognizable quotes from Act I Scene I of Richard III. On its surface, the meaning appears fairly simple and obvious. As a college student at Saint Francis in Brooklyn Heights so many years ago, I graduated with a BA in English. As part of my required courses, I had to take Every.Single.Shakespeare course.
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t painful. Throw in two Chaucer required courses, and I was beginning to think I would never be able to speak “normal” again.
But through ALL those hours of reading and discussing Bill’s dramas, comedies, and historical works, that quote is the one that has stuck with me. (That, and “kill all the lawyers .”But that’s an entirely different subject lol).
I never took the quote literally. I believe it is more of a metaphor for the good and bad in our lives. Regardless of the season. Regardless of our age. Regardless of the situation.
When we are younger, we tend to think that EVERYTHING “bad” that happens is the end of the world. At least our world for the moment. Didn’t get the job. Failed a test. Didn’t get the guy. Or girl. The list is quite possibly endless.
I was no exception. Living in Manhattan sharing an apartment with a co-worker taught me a lot about keeping things in perspective. Her “awful and horrible” was only a blip on my radar. My awful and horrible was just a shrug of her shoulders. It wasn’t that we weren’t concerned about each other. Or truly didn’t care. It was the simple fact that we came from different perspectives, different upbringings. And whether we admit it or not, they do play a role in shaping how we react to the “winters” in our lives.
It wasn’t until my mid-30s that I realized that there is much more to winter. True, things can be a lot colder. A bit harder. A tad uncomfortable. And our winters can definitely send a shiver through us.
But there is beauty in an icicle hanging from a frozen tree with the sun shining from behind… It reminds us that the sun is always not far away. Literally and figuratively.
Our “winters” have meaning. Without them, it’s not possible to appreciate the warmth of our Summers. The New Life of our Springs. And our new beginnings of Autumn.
I now embrace my “winters.”
It took time. A lot of time.
But over the years I have learned to remind myself that the sun is still there.
It will always be there.
If you enjoyed this post, read Finding Myself In Solitude Part 1