Y’all, it’s been a rough year.
I won’t go into details because it’s personal, tedious, and frankly because there’s little more annoying than a person who has shelter and food and supportive family and friends going on and on about how terrible life is. In the grand scheme of things, I’m fine, life is great. But all the same, it’s been one of the bumpier times.
To cap it all off, this morning I woke up and there was snow on the ground. Just a little, and it melted pretty fast, and the sun even came out a bit in the afternoon, but all the telltale signs are here. Cold weather is on its way. Winter is coming.
Those of you who grew up with four seasons might not understand my dismay at this, but I am an Arizona girl through and through. I’ve lived in a handful of cold, snowy places, sure, but to my 110+-degree-fried brain, winter means that when you drive around on Christmas Eve with the windows down, you have to bring along a blanket because it’s a bit brisk. You buy boots because they’re cute, but you wear them with shorts or a skirt because otherwise it gets too warm. You build a fire in the fireplace because it looks cozy but have to crank up the AC so you don’t melt. That’s winter.
What a harsh reality it was to realize that not only is snow real, not only is it burn-your-skin-off-cold, but that people actually function in it. They shovel their walkways. They drive to work. They speed around 5-mile-an-hour-granny-driving Arizonans like me and sometimes spin out of control and crash into the median, but then they just keep driving. It may be freezing outside, they may want to spend all their time curled up under an electric blanket, but life goes on. It just does.
This has been running through my mind a bit as I’ve been sludging through the year from hell, and being the liberal arts graduate that I am, I can’t help but draw some parallels here. Pretty much everyone in life is guaranteed to hit some crappy patches along the way. Maybe it’s a light shower. Maybe it’s a blizzard. Maybe it’s locusts and brimstone and the plague wrapped up in an extra-hot burrito of suck. The point is, life can’t always be sunshine and popsicles and puppies. It’s just one of the facts of nature: it can’t be warm sunny spring all year long. Winter is always going to come eventually, no matter what.
Moving to Salt Lake City, I knew that I was going to have to deal with snow again. For a few months now, I’ve been trying to gather together a list of all the great things about ice and cold and snow so that I’d go into it with a really open mind and meet winter head on. Not only was I going to beat winter at its own game, but I was going to become winter’s best friend. I was going to kill winter with kindness and enthusiasm. Muwahaha. Take that, winter. You can’t get the best of this girl.
Some of the other things in life that have come up recently I haven’t been quite as prepared for. Some have pushed me off my feet. Some have knocked the wind out of me. Some have pantsed me in front of the entire school when my crush was sitting in the second row and totally saw the whole thing AND I was wearing those really embarrassing Little Mermaid underpants because I forgot to do laundry.
Yep. It’s been that kind of year.
But…and go with me here, I’m a left-brain…the principles are the same. There is always a bright side. The part of me that just wants to hibernate until all my problems go away kind of wants to punch myself for writing something so downright Pollyana, but it’s true. I can either hide inside all day drowning my sorrows in apple cider (tempting), or I can open my eyes and notice how beautiful freshly fallen snow looks (from inside a well-heated house, of course. Let’s not get crazy).
So without further ado, here are some of the ways that I intend to enjoy life, no matter how cold it gets outside (literally and figuratively).
1. Hot chocolate. Is there anything better in life than hot chocolate? I’m talking the quality stuff here, not the watered-down crap that’s more sugar than cocoa. There’s nothing in life cozier than a steaming cuppa… except for maybe—
2. Warm blankets. I feel sorry for whoever I marry because I’m pretty sure my Beatles throw blanket will always be my first love. Burrowing up in a warm cocoon of a bed when there’s frost creeping up the windows outside = heaven.
3. Books. I know you can read any time of the year, but there’s something about a crackling fire combined with previously mentioned hot chocolate and blanket that just beg for you to get lost on a magical journey.
4. Boots and jackets and scarves, oh my! Winter clothes are the best. Not only can you pretty much get away with walking around in material that feels like flannel pajamas and Grandma’s hand-patched quilts, but they are sooo much more flattering for your figure after all of the inevitable winter weight gain. All because of…
5. Holidays. Come on, we all know it. Winter has the best holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, whether you love Valentine’s Day or prefer to celebrate Single’s Awareness, it’s all about food and family and fun. Plus, the parades and the cheesy holiday specials and the FOOD! It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Take that, Arbor Day!
6. Pants. Look, I love a cute pair of shorts or a billowy summer skirt as much as the next gal, but… jeans. Jeans!! That means no one’s going to be seeing my legs for at least the next five months. Hallelujah! I’m packing away my disposable razors until Easter.
7. Scenery. Okay, so maybe driving in the snow through a twisting, windy canyon is the most terrifying thing I can possibly imagine… but even on the occasion when I’ve hit a patch of black ice and have found myself skidding toward the edge of a cliff, I couldn’t help but think to myself—My gosh, what a beautiful view!
8. Scenery, Part 2. Jon Snow is from Winterfell. So is Robb Stark. Their house motto is Winter Is Coming. Now, my deductive skills might be a little rusty, but… if winter is here and Jon Snow and Robb Stark are the guardians of winter then…
…better pull out those razors after all, eh?
Bring it, winter. I’m ready for ya.