My friends, salvation from winter doldrums is here! You are probably thinking, “We are having a thaw, and tomorrow is Groundhog Day! Winter is almost over! I don’t need your stinkin’ help.” I’ll wait here while you tune in to see whether the woodchuck saw his shadow. Here is a link to some snappy elevator music we can listen to while your hopes are dashed.
… Back? Happens every year. I jettisoned that groundhog myth long about the time I cashed in the chips on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Somehow the freakish creations of Halloween survive year round, but let’s leave that one in the parking lot for now. Here is my snarky three-pronged approach getting over on winter:
- Change Your Body. Did you make a resolution to lose weight or eat healthier? During the coldest, darkest, most depressing time of year? Good for you! I bet you are exercising a lot, too. I did this with such success, I bulked up enough to earn honest comparison to an American Gladiator.
I could have been cracking coconuts with my thighs, folks, harvesting the milk and pressing the oil for a Paleo diet, but what good is that if you look like a dude in your skinny jeans and you are too lazy (or broke) to buy a whole new wardrobe? Unless, of course, you are a guy, in which case you should not be wearing skinny jeans. Ever.
- Upgrade Your Mind. I realized some months ago that I had never read the highly acclaimed work of the late Sylvia Plath. Poetry is hard, and I was in for the long haul, so I reached for her only novel, The Bell Jar. Those of you who read it in school or for personal edification are already groaning. I picked the coldest, darkest, most depressing time of year to read a thinly veiled autobiographical account of a young woman’s envelopment by mental illness. Don’t get me wrong; this book is written beautifully, in achingly clear prose and with such utter frankness, you find your arms linked with hers as the despair washes over you, and you love her for it. My advice would be to save this one for book club discussion, but honestly, I finished the last page and started the book all over again. If you’re going to plunge, plunge with wanton abandon.
- Grow Your Soul. Many sects of Christianity commence the season of Lent next Wednesday. Give up something you love for 40 days, and you might feel more pure of heart for having made the sacrifice(s). However, just as there is calm before the storm, there is Mardi Gras before Lent! Use the coldest, darkest, most depressing time of year to plunge yet again, this time into debauchery and gluttony, because what better way to give something up than to make yourself so sick from it, you don’t even want to think about it for at least 40 days? Ah, humans, it is our nature to think wisely and act foolishly.1
It could be suggested that all three tines of my snarky pitchfork are good guideposts by which to live, but sometimes you have to fall off of the path to know you’re alive. I’m not saying this is a good way to live daily, but every now and again, it’s kind of restorative to sit under your SAD lamp on a dreary day with a lot of chocolate and give The Bell Jar another read.