I walked out the front door and squinted, shielding my eyes with my cupped hand. "What is that," I thought to myself as I struggled to peer at the big bright ball in the sky. It was the sun. I hadn't seen it in a long time.
At my last job, a job I was at for 10 years, my office was in the basement. Prior to that, at the job I was at for 5 years, my office was in the basement, and many moons again when I did my internship for school at a luxury hotel in Philadelphia, you guessed it, my office was in the basement.
This means that for the better part of 15 years, I worked below ground.
For a while I had a complex, "Do they think that I should not be out in society with others?" Have you ever heard the phrase, "He has a face for radio;" well, I started to feel like I had a face for the basement.
My last job was the toughest stretch to contend with. It was a grueling and demanding job and I often worked long hours. In the winter, I'd get to work before the sun came up, and I'd leave long after the sun went down.
I am already the palest person I know; almost translucent! I'd watch these online make-up tutorials where the experts would instruct you to put blush on your cheeks in the place where the sun naturally hits. I had no idea what they were talking about!
I was seriously lacking in Vitamin D. Whenever I'd get sore or achy I'd wonder to myself, "Do I have Rickets?"
So on that day when I stood there marveling about that big bright ball in the sky, I thought to myself, "Life's too short!"
I love the outdoors. I love fresh air, sunshine and hearing birds singing and bees buzzing, and I longed to be out in nature more often. I wanted to find a way to escape. I longed to relinquish my status as a "cellar dweller."
I tried all the tricks I'd seen in magazines for sprucing up your office space. I got extra lamps, hung up pictures of the outside and brought in plants (that promptly died from lack of sunlight). I put up a screensaver of the beach and even downloaded an app that mimicked the sound of ocean waves, bubbling streams and birds chirping.
Other than the sound of the water making me have to pee every half hour, the rest of it did little to convince me that I wasn't actually stuck underground.
Fast forward to today where I currently live at the beach and spend my days writing in my postage-stamp-sized apartment that, although sparse on square feet, boasts eight fabulous windows that let the sun shine in.
I recently went back to my old job to visit my friends. When I walked in a few people stared at me suspiciously and remarked, "You look like Karen, except... with COLOR!"
Yes it's true Virginia, you CAN get a tan!
I'm not a fan of baking in the sun for hours on end. I'm truthfully not even trying to get a tan. I'm just so thankful that I no longer look like a model for "Modern Ghost" magazine. Some days, I don't even go outside in the sun, but it's enough just to be able to see it from the window.
Being a vampire, hidden away from anything that even remotely looked like the outside was downright depressing, and not being able to connect with nature was dragging me down.
If you feel like a human vampire, please try to do what you can to get out and savor the daylight whenever you can. Use your lunch hour to go outside and sit in the park; try to include at least one outdoor activity in your weekend plans; and make time to actually stop and smell the roses, and the gardenias, and the lavender and the petunias.
Leave the "vampiring" to Bella and Edward; get out there and soak up the sun!