This year, I set a goal to be more optimistic. 2019 has been the year of positivity for me. Over the years, my default pessimistic outlook on life has taken a toll on my mental health. I owe it to myself and my family to show up every day as the best version of myself, so I’ve made a conscious effort to see the glass half-full.
And it has worked. Optimism has become a habit, and I am able to find the positives in every situation. For the most part…
But, today…today I’m relapsing. Today, I’m not only going to complain, I am going to nauseatingly whine. I mean, let’s face it, complaining feels good. And right now I’m struggling to find something to feel good about.
So, what’s the basis for my blatant hypocrisy?
As of this writing, it’s mid-November and it’s 16 degrees outside. I know you northerners are probably like “And??”, but I live in Tennessee, and there is no reason it should ever be 16 degrees in November in Tennessee. If it were January, fine, whatever. But, November? Come on, man.
I wasn’t psychologically prepared for this. Yes, seasonal affective disorder is absolutely a thing, and I have it. A lot of it.
It’s snow laughing matter.
See, I’m a true Southerner. I don’t possess the gene for cold-weather adaptation. I’m a spring/summer type of guy.
In summer, you can be outside and not risk hypothermia, the sun is shining bright, the days are longer, there’s baseball, you can go swimming, everything is green and alive. Life is just better in summer.
Winter is the exact opposite. Everything is dead, it’s cold, dreary, and it’s dark by late afternoon. Winter is such a dreadful and miserable time of year. Life is just worse in winter.
My disdain for this season of misery knows no bounds. It’s difficult to find words descriptive enough for me to fully express the depth of my winter hate, but if this were The Office, winter would be Toby Flenderson.
I despise winter so much that it ruins fall for me, too. October is great, but it’s like the Sunday night of months. You can’t really enjoy it because Monday (winter) is tomorrow. In my neck of the woods, November kicks off 5 months of cold, gray darkness.
If there are any winter lovers still reading this, I have to ask…just, how?? How can you love a season that can kill you if you stay out in it for too long? Winter is so bad you literally die from being exposed to it.
If you’re Frosty the Snowman, a Northpole native, a White Walker, or you just love wallowing in the misery and depression that winter provides, this content isn’t for you. Go ahead and close your browser. Get outside since, ya know, the weather is so lovely and all.
If you think winter is great, is it though? You’re lying to yourself. And I’ll prove it to you.
Dashing through the no.
Humor me for a bit and try this little exercise.
Take a moment and tap into your imagination. Envision yourself getting out in nature. Imagine that you’re going for a walk through the woods.
You’re on a trail, and you’re about to enter a forest. Look around you. What do the trees look like? Continue along the winding trail through the forest. Take in your surroundings along the way.
Suddenly, the forest opens and you come to a vast field. What does this field look like? Again, take in all your surroundings. Imagine breathing in the fresh air, imagine walking through the grass. Let the scope and magnitude of this scene envelope you.
Now, take a minute and reflect on what you just envisioned.
As you entered the woods, chances are you saw a lush, green forest or maybe a colorful wonderland of fall foliage.
And now the field. What did you see here? Maybe some flowers and butterflies. Birds chirping. A warm, gentle breeze blowing waves through the tall grass.
The human imagination is limitless, and possibilities of what you may have envisioned are endless. I don’t know what you saw in your mind.
However, I do know what did not enter your mind: A barren, lifeless forest filled with dead-looking trees. A chilling, soul-piercing wind whistling through the leafless branches.
As you entered the field, chances are you didn’t see a vast, frozen tundra. I bet you didn’t picture a gray, dreary sky or hear crows ominously cawing in the distance.
Chances are you didn’t envision yourself shivering uncontrollably as you struggled to fight off hypothermia. Chances are you didn’t imagine yourself with numb toes and frost-bitten appendages.
How do I know this? Because no person’s perfect world is a snow-covered, frozen expanse void of all life. And if it is, you’re either a penguin or an Eskimo.
See? Winter is disgusting.
Wake me up when this winter ends.
Obviously, I’m being a bit dramatic, but the older I get, the more real the struggle. Unfortunately, winter is inevitable. Complaining about it, however, makes it a little more bearable.
Speaking of bears, they nailed it with the whole hibernation thing. It’d be nice to sleep for five months and wake up in the spring. I guess the next best thing would be joining those snowbirds who migrate to Florida every winter. I’m totally gonna be one of those.
For now, I guess I’ll suck it up and try to follow through with my pledge of optimism for 2019. I think I can make it if I concentrate my focus on the only positive thing about winter: when it’s over.