Early winter kicks me in the shins every year. I can’t help feeling glum as the merriness of Christmas fades and I look ahead to three cold, hard, vacationless months. Plus, I’m pretty sad and anxious for the world right now.
I temporarily banished the doldrums this morning, with what’s become a January tradition: listing some of the highlights of the year gone by — one bullet for every year of my life.
Last January, in my usual post-holiday melancholy, I wrote a list of 29 gifts offered by the year 2013 – one for each birthday gone by. It was like sunshine on my face after days of cold and dark.
Sunshine on our faces.
This January felt entirely different. After happily bouncing around Europe for a few weeks, I came home rested and excited about my engagement.
Now I’m settling into the usual winter doldrums. Brushing my car off every morning is killing my soul. My face hurts when I walk my (lovely and adorable) dog at 6:30 a.m. I’m dying of a vitamin D deficiency. Yadda yadda yadda.
This is us trying to embrace winter.
So here it is, my cure for the murky, miserable winter blues.
In 2014 I…
Played my first round of real Penetang bingo.
Took on a new volunteer role with le Festival du Loup.
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.
My new, squeaky clean runners. Talk about incentive!
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.
My romantic soul is always glad to see friends and family, admire sparkling snow and tinsel, sing carols, and sit by the fire. But even I’m about ready to bring this festive season to a close.
Since December15, I’ve taken part in over a dozen holiday gatherings with people I adore. They all featured jingling music, good laughs and games – plus cookies, alcohol, and (often) that addictive layered salsa and cheese dip that everyone’s mom seems to make.
I call this back-to-back line up of heart-warming, artery-clogging parties the Christmas Marathon. I start the race happily chugging along, but by about 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day, I’m crawling to the finish line, weighed down by holiday excess.
New Year’s Eve is my last hurrah – the final sprint. At this moment, I’m looking forward to visiting with dear friends and popping some champagne. I’m also exhausted to the core and battered by my annual Christmas virus – my body’s way of saying: “stop! stop! too much wine!”
As I pull on my rather tight party dress and pack Tobias’s boot with board games, booze and Benadryl, I’m as excited about the evening ahead as I am about the next day. With a bit of luck, I’ll spend tomorrow night sitting on my couch, eating kale, and remembering the joys of the festive season.