Late November is upon us. Although the weather is doing its usual peek-a-boo (gorgeous for two days, cold and ugly for the next few) one thing is certain: winter is coming.
Forgive me the Westeros joke. I’m late to the Game of Thrones party. I’m also not a good watcher. I purchase random episodes on iTunes instead of watching them consecutively, and I fill in the blanks with You Tube videos and Wikis. ANYWAY, GoT is not the point. The point is: it will be cold and dark for days on end soon.
For years, I’ve either dreaded winter or listened to other Midwesterners dread winter. It always made me wonder why we lived here if we all hated it so much. I also wonder why 90% of the population refuses to learn to drive in snow when we most certainly get it – even on work days – several times during the season. ANYWAY, the dread of the snow is not the point. It’s not really the weather part of winter that I dread. It’s the cloud that seems to set in my brain once the sun starts to go down at 5PM.
A long time ago, I named the cloud. I called it “Winterhead,” and it’s as good a name for the mood as I’m likely to ever find. Sure, it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sure, it’s a reaction to the weather. Sure, it’s from years and years of not having the appropriate clothing to navigate colder times. It’s one part my chemistry and another part my constitution.
Basically, “winterhead” is the general feeling of vagueness and melancholy that settles in for a few months when it’s cold and gray. I can’t say that I hate it, though. I often dread it, because I never learned to deal with it, but it does prompt some cozy times: snuggling with my pups, drinking hot chocolate, reading good books, staring out the window and dreaming about warmer days.
This year, I want to embrace it. I want to be prepared. I’ve thought of a plan of attack.
Last year, I invested in some better gloves. This year, I’m going to invest in some long underwear. I may even invest in some snow shoes. During one of the biggest snow falls of the past year, my cousin and I met in the ravine near where we live. We trudged through the snow in our snow boots, and it was glorious. It would have been a bit easier in snow shoes. Also, on those days when everyone else stays inside, I could snow shoe down the center of my street. I’ll be THAT woman in my neighborhood.
While I’m thinking about it, I should mention that I learned a lesson from last winter. I did a little prep work, and it made winter that much easier. I also did some “winter” things – a winter hike, a walk through the ravine while it snowed, various Netflix marathons…
The lesson? Seemingly dreadful things don’t have to be dreadful – especially when you take a little time to PREPARE for them.
Besides better winter clothing, I’ve been thinking about what I want to DO this winter. It is no exaggeration to say that I’ve wanted to try snowboarding for YEARS. Like, ten years. This might be the year. I want to continue the tradition of the winter hike. I want to have my books ready, and, thanks to this post from Yes and Yes about hygge and making winter fun, I’m going to be ready in a whole lot of other ways. I’m embracing the concept of hygge, and if I’m going to live in the Midwest, then I’m going to love every minute of winter as much as any other season.
That said, I’ve never been one to say I need seasons. I did just fine in warmer climates. I don’t dream of white Christmases. But I don’t have to hate snow, either.
One note: during this house search, I can’t help but think of my future house as a place in which winter is celebrated. When I walk into a living room, I try to imagine myself there, covered in blankets, snow falling outside. As much as any other feature I’m looking for, I’m looking for a place to be cozy. Nothing seems as cozy as heavy blankets and a mug of hot chocolate.
In addition to the things to do, I’m going to go ahead and embrace the things to BE. In my case, I’ve always been contemplative and reflective during the winter months. I’m going to let myself be this year. I’m going to use it in my writing. For my writing. I won’t fight it. As a matter of fact, I will let it fuel another project that I’m eager to start. I’m scaling back on my work load so I can focus on some creative stuff. That’s a HUGE perk from paying off so much debt this year. I can work my one job and still save money. I can work my one job, and use my spare time to pursue creative work. Not every hour needs to be spent working to pay off debt. I don’t feel as guilty when working on other creative work – whereas before paying down the debt, I always felt like my focus should be solely on paid work.
In that way, I’m really looking forward to winter.
How do you prepare for winter? Any suggestions for winter activities or traditions? Any advice on best ways to prepare?