How to enjoy winter

Dear Daughter,

It’s November 4, which means… (cue tragic music)… winter is coming.

We Midwesterners have a love/hate relationship with winter. At the beginning of the season, we like that we can cozy up in sweaters with a mug of hot cocoa in front of the fire. We like that the crappy weather gives us an excuse to sit at home and watch movies all night. We like when it snows at Christmastime.

Once mid January rolls around, though, we are DONE. The novelty of winter has worn off, snow is no longer cute, and we long for the days when we can get out of the house and take a walk or eat dinner on the deck. Sadly, mid January is still considered early winter around here. So basically we live in misery for three to four months.

I’ve noticed that when my life is great, when good things are happening, the weather is of no consequence to me. It could be 20 below and I could care less. Nothing could bring me down, especially not the weather! But when life is just average, or below average, I have a tendency to dwell on how bad the weather is, and I even use it as an excuse for my sadness/laziness/pathetic-ness. This puts me into a greater depression, and it feels like I won’t be happy again until spring.

There’s science behind why unhappiness develops when skies are gray. We’re not getting the feel-good vitamins that the sun provides. There’s even a legitimate medical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where people literally get depressed because they aren’t getting enough sunlight. I don’t think I have SAD but I certainly do have my moments.

You know what, though? I’m tired of blaming the weather for my problems. I’m tired of hearing myself complain when the external elements are below my standards. Who am I to tell the weather what it should be, anyway? Griping about weather has no effect on the outcome. If it’s going to be 10 degrees with freezing rain, it’s going to be 10 degrees with freezing rain whether we like it or not, so why do we even bother complaining?

This winter, let’s make a vow to be happy. Let’s appreciate that we have a warm place to live and loved ones to fill that warm place. Let’s find fun things to do indoors (like dance parties!). Let’s exercise, which creates more feel-good endorphins than the sun does anyway. (Take that, sun!) Let’s make fun and yummy meals that we don’t have time to make in the summer. Ooh, let’s have an indoor Hawaiian luau!

I could go on and on with ideas but my point is, there are plenty of good things that come with winter; we just have to make the best of it. Instead of wasting energy whining about something over which we have no control, we need to rise above and use that energy to have fun and enjoy life, no matter what.

Looking forward to spending this winter with you, my dear.



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