First off, I know.
What could possibly make anyone want to read a post about winter? After all, we’re currently living it. The temperature was a thermometer-shattering -2 degrees this morning, and although the sun is out and the wind is minimal, it’s still fantastically cold. Several times this winter I’ve walked outside and been dizzy when I’ve come back in. There’s something in the back of my throat, and the air is impossibly dry to the point where I have to put drops in my eyes so I can wear contacts the next day. In so many ways, it’s a challenging season.
Right now, there are snowdrifts 2-3 feet high. When I was younger, they’d be ideal for King of the Mountain, but now I don’t see them in quite the same light. These gargantuan snowbanks obscure your vision of other cars, making turns and merging into the rotary a coin flip on the best day. The other day, I turned left out of my driveway, and completely forgot the conditions of the road. I live on a hill that leads down to an intersection, and when the light turned red, I applied the brakes and almost slid into the car in front of me. I’d forgotten what it was like to drive in this weather, and I know I’m not alone. There’s salt caked on everything, and everyone looks like they’re smoking when they step outside. I’m sure some of them wish they were.
Twice, I’ve trained for marathons in this weather, and each time I’ve pulled up with an injury that lasted over a month, sometimes many months. I blame the cold, even though I’m roughly 1,000% sure I didn’t warm up in the proper way. Even so, I’m still wary of going out for a run right now. So many of my winter runs devolve into an obstacle course, and it takes a while for my lungs to adapt to the temperature. Winter is a miserable season, but for some reason I’m not feeling that way this year. For some reason, I’m enjoying it.
For those who ski or snowboard, winter is an amazing season. When there’s powder on the mountains and conditions are prime, it can be a lot of fun to get out of town for a weekend and hit the slopes. Some people just really love the snow, but so many people look at this season as a form of payment for living in the northeast. The reactions to winter vary from annoyance at best, to pure disgust at worst. In order to reap the benefits of the other three seasons, we must pay for it with this frigid 3-6 months. So many people write it off, are miserable, and refuse to go outside.
I’m absolutely guilty of asking myself, “Why do I live here?” I’ve also asked myself, “How much longer can I take this?” I’ve suffered through enough winters at this point. Maybe it’s time to find a warmer locale with cooler summers and milder winters, but I get the sneaking suspicion I’ll still be living here next year, and that I won’t hate this season as much my initial sense of dread would have me believe.
We’re about a week in to 2018. This is about the time when the first of Resolutioners admit defeat, and they revert back to who they’ve been. I’ve made over ten resolutions for 2018, but maybe I should stick with one. After all, the rest are more or less goals I’ve set for the year. I’ve resolved to meditate every day, for at least 5-10 minutes, and so far I’ve only missed one day. I was a bummed out, but I’m not going to beat myself up over that one day. There’s still tomorrow, and the rest of the year for that matter. You have to get back up and go for what you want, whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
There are less parties and social gatherings during these months. Maybe it’s not the most exciting time, but for me the winter serves a purpose. Winter is the season that sets the tone. It offers you a chance to change your habits, to focus on yourself, to begin the process of becoming who you want to be for the rest of the year and beyond. It’s a time for self-evaluation, of making changes for yourself and for those around you. It’s a time to get better, rather than spending all of your time in a bar (although this can be a lot of fun).
I’ve used this time to get sober before, but I’m pushing that break off until a later date. I’m working at getting stronger and improving myself. I’m working at getting my mindset to where I want it, and I’ve been on a good streak. Each day I wake up feeling good about where I am in life. I don’t know how I got here, but my only choice is to keep going, to keep pursuing and to keep doing whatever it is that I’ve been doing. I’ve experienced a spiritual awakening of sorts, but I’m not going to discuss that now. All I know is that despite being confined indoors by the cold air and the blistering winds, I’m feeling like the best version of myself, or something close to it.
Winter isn’t my favorite season, but I do love when it’s cold outside. Despite the popularity of summer, there are few feelings I hate more than sweating on the train. Maybe winter isn’t the greatest season, but it’s a useful one. It’s a chance to spend more time with yourself. It’s a season for evaluating the things in your life that work and getting rid of those that do not. When the snow mercifully melts, when everything starts to thaw, I’ll be ready to tackle the rest of the year with energy and vigor. I can’t wait to see how everything plays out, but for now, I’ll be writing, reading, exercising, and loving the feeling that I’ve found in the coldest of the seasons. Thanks for reading.