I am simultaneously jealous of all of the sunny destination pictures my friends are posting on social media and not envious of all the people getting stranded, delayed or otherwise inconvenienced by airline issues. When we made the decision to stay home this winter I should have also made the rule to stay of social media to avoid the lovely pics. Today is a beautiful, sunny winter day but when it’s this sunny it also means it’s super cold. It’s beautiful from the inside, I keep telling myself as I wrap another blanket around me.
It’s funny to see how accessible travel is these days for the average person. When I was growing up in the 80s almost no one traveled south or overseas in the winter. The odd person may have driven down to Disney or traveled home to see relatives but travel wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today. I remember having one friend who went to Greece when I was about 10 years old and it felt like a crazy adventure to me! The 90s saw travel had ramp up a bit but by the 2000s it had exploded. Even after 9/11 when travel took a dip due to fear and increased security measures, I was on a plane a month later visiting a friend in Ireland and traveling to Scotland with her. By the end of the decade, it felt like everyone was hopping on planes to vacation.
Now I miss it if we don’t go away in winter but there was a time that it wasn’t even on my radar. I am trying to bring that feeling back: the feeling of moving with the seasons and coping with the weather around me; changing my activities to suit the season; embracing winter sports and staying indoors by the fire with a cup of tea and a good book. Still, like a petulant child I find myself having temper tantrums in my head because I can’t go somewhere warm. It’s amazing how humans adapt: what was once a rare treat available to few, I now feel somewhat resentful for when I can’t have it – even though it’s self-imposed! Having two kids at home who are invested in school has also meant that they don’t want to take any school off to travel, either. It’s strange to me but clearly I am weirdly proud of their dedication. In the end there are so many factors that keep me grounded – in every sense of the word!
But back to poor, misunderstood January! Yesterday was Blue Monday, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year. But it can’t be all that bad because New Order has an excellent song by that name. Also, January is apparently National Breakup Month. Oooof, poor January.
January is also the best time to reflect and go inwards. I don’t know how people in the southern hemisphere feel but up here the cold, dark days post-December revelry is a good time to stop, reflect and take stock of things (especially after all of that feasting and merriment). It’s a period of calm after the chaos that allows you to just be calm for a bit and maybe dry out, eat better and give new routines a whirl.
As for myself, I am trying to catch up on reading all of my library books (who am I kidding: I have never been able to balance these! If I read one, one more gets added to the pile. It’s truly an embarrassment of riches), get back on the meal planning train (the #1 tool in my arsenal to not waste and to save money), and I’m keeping an eye on our budget as EI and CPP start getting taken off of Mr. Tucker’s paycheques again just as I am trying to load our RRSPs in time for the tax season.
In the meantime, for those of you who are having difficulty embracing the cold, dark days of January, I highly recommend Katherine May’s book, Wintering to help you see that even the colder months are special and have something to teach us.