Wintering offline

Bundle up and gather around, I got a two-word horror story to tell: It snowed. It’s not that I hate winter. It’s just that I hate four hours of daylight and deadly icy sidewalks, and of course, the cold. It sickens me. But as the prayer goes;

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference
.

So. It’s officially winter. It’s cold, it snows, and it gets dark crushingly early. Naturally, I want to recoil and die. People tell me they understand my despair. We can’t believe it’s dark already. Wasn’t everyone wearing a t-shirt last week? “Watch your steps hun, it’s slippery.” It hurts. It helps. We’re all collectively trying to get through another season of freezing cold temperatures, short dark days, icy roads, leafless trees, gloomy afternoons, and it sucks for everyone.

You are not alone.

Winter is the loneliest time of the year. The last thing anyone wants to do is go out and socialize. Naturally, winter turns to the perfect excuse to spend all day online, where everyone is hanging out, from the comfort, warmth and safety of indoors protecting us from the cruel elements of the longest time of the year. It’s natural to crave effortless digital dopamine boost to forget that it’s winter and to abandon all sense of productivity. It is, after all, unreasonable to expect anything from winter but what nature naturally teaches us; winter is for hibernation. (Summer is for bad decisions but we’ll get to that next year)

The art of resting.

Winter is for rest. Scrolling is not resting. To rest is to be present. To rest requires us to be in solitude, to be in one’s own company. To rest is to disconnect, tune out, tune in, relax, enjoy a moment to ourself. Nothing can be further from resting than to be online, with its endless noise, all the negative/positive, happy/sad, good/bad, funny/disturbing content coming at us all at once. Online is anti-rest.

Adopt a rest-ethic.

Personally: Long showers daydreaming about my wildest dreams, reading words I can eat with spoon, watching cinematographically heavenly films, completing endless Suduko puzzles, dancing to music from my younger years, journaling about a specific emotion, crying until I don’t feel like crying, making a list of things that make my life more fulfilled, luscious, and spectacular.

Are you resting or distracting? As with many things in life, you know it when you feel it. Pay attention.

Effort.

To spend time offline is to make a serious, honest, often debilitating effort to face reality. Winter makes it a million times harder. Even if you are willing to face the cold, depressing short days, there isn’t much to do, and whatever little is there to do, nobody willing to do it with you. Well, life is full of excuses not to live. I choose to make the effort to live instead.

First thing first, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” The trick to being active, social, and outdoors during winter is dressing as warmly as possible before leaving thehouse. You’ll still feel the cold, and being cold sucks, but being bored, lonely, and isolated sucks even more, so make plans, bundle up and go outside. The apps won’t cure our loneliness anyway.

If all fails, spring is just around the corner, the most wonderful time of the year.

Until next time,

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