sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 11, 2015

plans to combat the winter blues
posted by soe 3:03 am

I like living in places where there are four seasons; I may not enjoy all of their aspects, but I do enjoy aspects of each. Sadly, though, winter does not love me back. Short, cold days are not helpful to one who prefers to sleep in: when you rise at noon, there are only a maximum of four hours left of light near the solstice, and that’s only if I bound from my bed straight outside, something that would only happen if my house were on fire, and even then I’d have to stop to stuff the cats into carriers. I don’t even have the benefit of sunlight streaming through windows the way I once did, living as I have the past dozen years below ground. I like the night, but the human body is meant to spend time outdoors and gets out of balance when denied Vitamin D from sunlight. You can take supplements, but it’s not the same.

We’re now also entering our third year of Rudi coaching skiing. The first year was abortive, with his injury occurring so close to the new year, but last year found him gone every weekend day (and several nights) between Christmas and March, save for the weekend he took off to celebrate my birthday (and make up for forcing me to spend my 40th in a hospital room with him). This winter promises more of the same, with the added challenge of also including two weekday nights of his being gone as well each week.

It will be fine. I will be fine. However, I will be more fine if I have a plan. And a schedule of activities that demand my attention and, frankly, my interaction with beings who are not my cats.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking: I’m going to come up with six to ten things I really think I can dig into during the winter season. And, yes, I am terrible at following plans, particularly once they’re public: once I declare them to the world, pretty much I abandon any intention of following through on them. (This flies in the face of everyone who needs to be held accountable by others, but I certainly don’t care what you think about my ditching a plan if I no longer care about it.) But this one might work in the same way those weekend to-do plans I occasionally share here on the blog do: when I get lost in my head and don’t know what I should be doing, this would offer me several things I could work on instead of moping. (It’s not dissimilar from Inigo and Vizzini’s plan in The Princess Bride: when a job goes wrong, go back to the beginning.) There’d be no obligation to get them done, but they’d offer several paths out of the darkness. And let’s face it: when you’re in the darkness, it’s good to know there are any paths nearby, let alone multiple trails.

When I first came up with this idea, I thought it could be fun to tie it to the alphabet, and I thought about starting at the end, particularly since several of my ideas start with later letters:

Ukelele: I have one. I’ve bought video lessons to learn how to play it. I’d like to be able to play at least one song by the time next summer’s camping season comes along.

Volleyball: This is my favorite sport and my one weekly social obligation most of the year. The team I played with this fall wants to play together again when the season begins again in mid-January, so that’s good. Plus, it corresponds to one of the weeknights Rudi will be working.

Writing: I’d like to do a better job at making writing part of my life, whether it’s here or in a journal or in a longer piece. Plus, it’s adaptable: I can go to a coffeehouse or the library and write there, or I can do it at home if I don’t feel like going out.

Yoga: There are several studios near my apartment and I always feel better after I’ve taken a class. Also, it is a thing that requires my leaving the Burrow, possibly on a weekend, and that involves being in a room with other people, even if it’s not necessarily interacting with them.

So those were my core ideas. Right now, “X” and “Z” are unaccounted for. “Z” could be for zoo, which is free, nearby, and open during the day. But I’m not positive how often I’m going to want to tramp around the zoo during the coldest season. “X” is harder, but if you expand it to include “ex-” words, it could stand for excursions, which would, again, serve to get me out of the house, and could include other people if I find some who also want to venture out into the world on the weekend. Or expunge, and I could focus on clearing stuff out of our apartment, which would have the added perk of Rudi not being around when I got rid of all his stuff instead of mine. (Kidding! Mostly.)

I could also back it up a few more letters and including pilates or pasta-making, sweater-knitting, and telephoning faraway friends or traveling to see them.

Or I could abandon the alphabet tie-in altogether, although I like some of the out-of-the-box thinking it could require to complete.

Either way, I have a few more weeks to figure it out. The ski season doesn’t begin in earnest until December, and the holidays keep me entertained (and busy) until the new year. But it would be good to have a plan ready for January and February, even if I chuck it out the window once I’ve shared it with you.

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