The Most Difficult Time of the Year?
Its mid-January (give or take) and personally I find this time of year to be one of the most challenging. I don't think I'm alone in the assessment.
The holidays are behind us. The decorations have come down. (Or at least they should have. If they haven't they are looking pretty drab and depressing.) The dream of White Christmas is past and we are left with dirty gray snow. Snow may be beautiful and white during the holidays, but once we get into the New Year it's a pain in the you know what. You're no longer dashing through the snow, but slogging through it on your way to work. With the inevitable snow and ice, traffic conditions get worse (as do tempers).
Those New Year's resolutions have had time to be broken. (Yes, mine has; not that it was all that serious.) The excitement of a new start in 2017 has worn off. The year may have changed, but things have gone back to the same old for most of us.
I've said it before: I am not a winter person. I am sure there are people out there who LOVE winter and all that it brings, I'm just not sure I know them.
But it's not necessarily winter that is the most difficult time of year for me (and I'm guessing others as well). It's that period of time when the gleam of the New Year has worn off to that first day where the feel of spring is in the air. Basically the time mid-January (sometime after Epiphany) to the first week of March. Because even if you have winter like winter in early March, there is still the knowledge that spring is just around the corner. Yes, we have snow and even blizzards in March, but the likelihood of the snow lasting long or another snow storm coming our way is dim.
It is approximately 7 weeks of time when the days seem dark and gray. Even the most upbeat and motivated ones of us want to get out of a cozy bed. (This means me.) It's difficult to get moving in the morning. Everything seems to take longer and be more difficult. Example: You can't just jump into the car and go. You have to layer up. You have to defrost the car. You have to use extra caution walking and driving. You feel like you're a stuffed goose with all the layers. The car is cold, no matter how high the heat is on...that is until it suddenly gets stuffy and insufferable. Usually this happens while you are stuck in traffic, with hazy sun glare blinding you no matter what time of day it is.
It's depressing. Not that I necessarily feel depressed; more like listless and lethargic. And who can blame me? (For once, I DON'T blame me.) This early morning bird really didn't want to crawl out of her cocoon of a warm bed this morning. (And it wasn't even that cold out.)
One of the reasons I think this stretch of time is so difficult is because there really isn't that much to look forward to. While I may not be happy when the cold weather starts to arrive, which is usually around November in my neck of the woods, I know that I have Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years to look forward to. The spring is a feel good time (at least for me); as life around me renews itself. (What could be more cheerful than seeing the crocuses peeping their heads up from the damp ground?) Spring also brings Easter, spring break and Mother's Day. Before we even get to summer, there is Memorial Day and Father's Day. School gets out for the summer and the whole vibe is different. (Plus the daily commute gets easier with no school traffic.) While autumn means that the cold weather is on the way, it is overshadowed by the anticipation of a new school year, the brilliant fall colors and the spooky silliness of Halloween.
The good thing is that this stretch of time IS only 7 weeks. The drab gray WILL eventually give way to green. The ice will melt and the robins will return. (Anyone else challenge themselves to find the first robin of the year?) The windy gusts will make way for gentle breezes. Just as it is certain that winter will be cold, gray and dismal, it is also certain that change will come. And that's something to keep in mind. Change WILL come.
So if you're feeling down, it's okay. But know that the softer days of spring WILL come. We do have to slog through these next 7 weeks or so, but we WILL make it to better days. Don't beat yourself up for not being upbeat. Let yourself feel. For as with sad feelings will eventually come the happy; with the dirty gray will eventually come bold and beautiful color. We can and WILL make it through the winter and WILL find spring again.