It is a matter of fact not open for question or debate that January, February, and the first two weeks of March are the stale soggy unlovable dregs of the year. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about these first two and half months. Nothing. And birthdays don’t count (sorry Dad. And Abraham Lincoln.) There aren’t even any work or school holidays to brighten up the bleak horizon of these months, apart from President’s Day – a sort of lone, wobbly life raft thrown to you as you splutter to stay afloat amidst the black unfeeling ocean of Winter.
To be fair, it doesn’t help that January, February, and the first two weeks of March follow the awesomely awesome block of months that contain Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Aside from President’s Day, what have January, February, and the first two weeks of March to offer to the people of the America? Groundhog’s day. Oh, and let’s not forget – Valentine’s Day. And frankly, those two bullshit “holidays” just cannot compensate, not even a little bit, for the horrible, terrible weather, the freezing cold temperatures, the necessity to lug on heavy, ugly winter coats whenever going outside, the short days, the long nights, the perpetually overcast skies always heavy with clouds and devoid of sun, the brown spindly trees, the streets, dirtied by rain or sleet or snow. These months are the Mondays of the year, if Mondays were always cold, wet, gloomy, and long. These are the months that try the souls of men, women and children all over the world.
But enough negativity! Let’s be positive now, shall we? Here are some suggestions on how one might salvage these coming months of frosty grey gloom. I have exactly three:
1. Create some kind of tradition of your own that complements the season
Make up your own January, February traditions that you’ll look forward to doing, and won’t require you to be outdoors in the cold. (Unless you enjoy the cold.) Personally, I see January and February as the perfect months to catch up on my reading list, so I make a lot of nights my “reading nights”. This means long quiet evenings sitting cross-legged on my sofa, wrapped up in my fleece blanket with a cup of hot tea by my side and a good book in my hand. Also fun: movie nights. Now, don’t those activities make staying in on cold nights sound infinitely more pleasant?
2. Try not to think about how great things are during the other seasons
My favorite season of the year is summer. I love absolutely everything about summer – the sunshine, the warmth, the greenery, the way daylight seem to stretch on forever and ever in the best kind of way. But these are dangerous thoughts in times like January and February because they brew resentment and discontentment. So banish the comparisons. As you’re about to step outside, don’t think, “If it were summer I could be wearing a nice cute sundress and sandals out right now instead of this ginormous North Face jacket with 3 layers of sweaters and long underwear and gloves and a hat and scarf and earmuffs and socks and boots. Instead, just put on your winter garb and don’t think about it.
3. Try doing things at home that you normally wouldn’t do
I would not be described by anyone I know as an “outdoorsy” kind of person, even under the best of weather circumstances, much less in dead of wintertime. Which unfortunately deprives this very short list of any kind of outdoor activity. I’m sure there are plenty of worthwhile and fun things to do….outside…in the cold. But when it gets cold, my first instinct is to huddle deep within my house and stay in there as long as possible until the world grows warm and the daffodils come out to prance and play once more. So here is my third suggestion: Try your hand at in-door things you’ve always kind of wanted to do, but never did before. For example, you might learn how to bake a cake. Maybe learn how to make a new dish. You might buy some bubble soap and take a long, luxurious bubble bath. Maybe you can try your hand at painting, or write a short story. Point is, you now have plenty of time to try out new, interesting things in the comfort of your own home.
Good luck and godspeed.