Happiness in Winter


Sometimes I'm S.A.D.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing. Some of us Washingtonians know it well. September is heaven. Half of October usually, too. We're so busy loving the fall colors that we give the first big storms a pass, and we're looking forward to Thanksgiving and getting cozy by the fire. December is generally miserable, but there are lots of artificial lights and sweets to go around. January 1 is tinged with "Fresh Start!" energy.

But. You guessed it. Janaury 2 the SADness can really set in. Especially when one stops to calculate that the sog and deep gray likely won't let up until July 5 (The July 4 parade will be rained out. Count on it.) February and March are the hardest. I can't count the number of people I've run into around town the last couple weeks who are fantasizing about moving to San Diego.

Some years are worse than others. I wish I could figure out a formula: If I just do _______, it will be easier. Bad news for you, reader. No formula. For some reason, this year, though just as wet and dreary, hasn't been so oppressive.

Here are some things making me happy this winter:

Organic Produce Box. For 3 or 4 years, we've been getting a Tuesday delivery from Dandelion Organics. They source from as many local purveyors as possible and, in the dead of winter, find other places to get the riot of color that fills those tubs every week. They even leave a treat for the dog. When I come home on Tuesday evenings and see that blue box on the porch, it feels like Merry Christmas. Or Happy Valentines Day. Or You're-Allowed-to-Take-Care-of-Yourself-and-Support-a-Sustainable-Local-Business Day.

My Kick-Ass Kids. Loretta (11) and Wyatt (almost 15) make me laugh every day. They spend a few hours every weekend cleaning the house and doing their laundry, which makes me very happy. (This idea that kids are just supposed to have fun makes me crazy. I count on them!) They are cheerful leaders on their basketball teams, kindhearted toward everyone in their orbits, and make sure I'm staying awake to the world and to my own life.

King-Sized Mattress. We just got one. In my informal poll, apparently we are the last married couple to discover this secret. *&$%!

Binge-Reading. A year ago, I decided I wasn't going to try to cram reading in around everything else. I was going to privilege it the way I make time for my marriage, my kids, my friends, my work. The library and I are very close right now. And my world keeps expanding.

A Little of This, a Little of That. You've heard me say, no doubt, that I can be such an all-or-nothing person. My eyes have been opened to all binaries I create and how they bring unhappiness and imbalance to my life. Truth bombs: I can go to a Barre class without becoming a devotee! I can make friends slowly without plunging to emotional depths immediately! I can make a mistake at work without wondering if I'm in the wrong profession!

Not giving He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named so much Power over Me. There are homeless people to shelter, my own class and privilege to understand and reckon with. There is electricity to be thankful for and local businesses to support. There are people all around me who need love, touch, connection, real-ness. I've got work to do.

Whatever part of the world you're in, whatever you're up to this Sunday afternoon, I hope happiness sneaks up on you. xo