Every January, my slightly-above-average whining abilities grow to superhuman, x-men mutant power strength.
This year’s self-pity key messages include: “Christmas is over,” “I’m exhausted,” “that wasn’t a real vacation,” “I’m sick,” “I’m overweight,” “our 113-year-old house is draughty,” “my arms aches from shovelling,” and the classic “there are three long months of winter to go.” Blurgh. Cough. Sigh.
When I was 12, my mom rarely let me spend more than 10 minutes being surly and grumbly. As soon as she heard a complaint or sniffle, she started singing this song:
So, with the grouch anthem bouncing around in my skull, I’ve decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’m going to:
- Focus on the positive. Like my friend Kristin, who keeps reminding me of life’s gifts.
- Cleanse. JF and I are officially off wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and booze for two weeks.
- Clean the house. I’m obsessively tidy, but the place hasn’t been scrubbed down since early December.
- Exercise. I’ve bought some purple shoes. Now I have to use them.
To start thinking positively, I’m emulating a former colleague. On her birthday, she makes a list of highlights from the year gone by – with one bullet for every year she’s been in the world. Here’s my new year take on her tradition.
In 2013 I…
- Finally achieved my dearest wish: slowing down and moving back to Simcoe County
- Discovered that for good friends, the road from Elmvale to Toronto (and vice-versa) isn’t so long
- Celebrated eight years with a handsome, kind and smart man
- Bought a big, beautiful, draughty house
- Cleared said house of wallpaper
- Watched the sun rise over the north rim of the Grand Canyon
- Accompanied one of my dearest friends down the aisle
- Gained a “new” car and travel buddy
- Celebrated my sister’s engagement to an amazing person
- Hiked to the highest point in Zion National Park in excellent company
- Had a great time making ugly clay bowls at the Gardiner Museum
- Joined a book club
- Performed with two great choirs – I even did a small solo
- Grew my hair long
- Explored Ontario on weekend trips with JF
- Planted a lilac tree in my own garden, to honour mémère
- Went on a wine and pizza-fuelled road trip with college friends
- Took a graphic design course at OCAD
- Took on some exciting new volunteer roles
- Found a great (and local!) job
- Started a blog
- Had my avo over for dinner for the first time ever
- Saw my dad finally find true love
- Rode the barf-inducing Polar Express at the Elmvale Fall Fair
- Hosted a few good parties
- Flew to New York with some great people
- Discovered lululemon tights
- Had the Rebelo cousins (age 8 to 25) over for the weekend
- Got and decorated my first Christmas tree
Reading this list banishes all of that whiny goop from my heart and reminds me that I really am tremendously, astoundingly lucky.
If you’ve got the early winter blues, I recommend blessing-counting. It works just as well as your granny promised.