I used to think that being too cold was better than being too hot, but I’ve come to realize that it just isn’t the case. Being too hot is definitely more tolerable than being too cold.
One of the biggest arguments for why it’s better to be too cold is the fact that one can pile up blankets and turn on a fireplace to remedy it, while saying when it’s too hot, there is little to do about it. That’s not true. People can jump in a pool, have a cold drink or enjoy ice cream and popsicles. Even just a quick breeze can provide relief. Plus, we can use air conditioning, fans or open some windows.
Feeling too cold is also a lot more harrowing of an experience. We involuntarily shiver and hug our arms to our chest to retain as much warmth as possible. Sometimes even a heavy jacket isn’t enough to keep a person comfortable. Depending on the extremity, one might even turn purple or go numb. The cold feels bitter and stinging. I’ve seen pictures of people with frost gathering on their eyebrows and eyelashes, which looks absolutely unbearable. I’d rather tolerate a bit of sweat than freeze.
Beating the heat can also create good memories. It’s probably quite easy to imagine the smell of sunscreen, chlorine or saltwater, the sounds of kids playing with their friends in sprinklers and the taste of one’s favorite popsicle flavor. That isn’t to say cold days don’t provide their own memories, but recalling when those memories arose from the task of warming up seems more difficult.
The summer months feature the most prominent heat, but the warmth doesn’t always deter people from going out. On the other hand, when it’s too cold, it seems like people are more inclined to stay inside. It takes too much effort to layer up and people are reluctant to leave the comfort of warmer interiors. I know that for me, when I see the temperature has dropped below the forties, I’m not voluntarily going outside to hang out. When the temperature is in the upper seventies and maybe even the eighties, I consider that a more inviting day.
Being cold also costs more. We have to buy winter gear, blankets and pay for heating. A lot of energy goes into keeping the temperature up. Additionally, the CDC states that more deaths occur from being too cold than too hot, reporting about twice as many extreme-temperature related deaths were due to excessive cold from 2006-2010.
Finally, this may not be a common topic to consider when debating temperature extremes, but it’s interesting how winds and breezes contribute to whether it’s better to be too cold or too warm. When it’s cold out, wind gusts are dreaded, as they only further the chill and cut through our coats. On warm days, a breeze is welcome and appreciated. The fact that when it’s too hot, nature doesn’t actively try to further my suffering makes me enjoy a hot day a bit more.
Obviously, it’s usually preferable for temperatures to be in a good, tolerable middle ground. If given the chance to choose the weather, I wouldn’t pick extreme heat or extreme chill. When given the option between the two, though, I think being too hot is a better experience than being too cold.