I hate winter. For the record, it’s my least favorite season. I can usually tolerate it to an extent, but this winter has just been awful here. As I speak, it’s snowing yet again and, as it is, I don’t think I’ve actually seen the pavement on the roads at my apartment complex since the before the new year. My friends who are grade school teachers are going on their ninth, tenth, eleventh snow days of the year and it’s only the beginning of February. I want spring and warm weather–to be able to see green grass again and go outside without a coat and gloves and hat and scarf–but lately it feels like that’ll never happen.
There’s this thing called seasonal affective disorder and I sometimes wonder if I have it. People with seasonal affective disorder experience depression at certain times during the year–usually during the gloomy months of winter. They lack energy and feel all around blah and moody.
Earlier last month, I found myself feeling especially disdainful of winter, especially when the weather kept Craig and I from spending time together. In one instance, I made the four-and-a-half hour drive out to Indy to visit, only to have to turn back around and head home days early because a sudden snow storm threatened to make getting back to Ypsi in time for school impossible otherwise.
I got home just hours before the big storm hit and ended up stuck in my apartment for days. The roads around me were impassible and, wouldn’t you know it, classes were canceled anyway. I had never felt so isolated. One night, when I was feeling especially bored and going out of my mind, I decided to break out my journal. It had been awhile since I had found the time to write. I started flipping back to entries from the summer–and the fall, my favorite season.
Through re-reading some of those entries, I felt like I was re-living those experiences all over again and it was great: the first Cedar Point trip in May when the weather was so perfect that I fell asleep on a concrete bench by the beach to the sounds of the waves hitting the shoreline; the breezy day in early August I spent with my friend and boyfriend on the beautiful grounds of a winery in Indiana–polishing off a bottle of strawberry honey wine at a picnic table by the still water. Or the final night of an early-October camping trip in Pennsylvania, taking in the vibrant colors on the trees and enjoying a campfire with friends and listening to rain fall steadily on our tent as I fell asleep.
I re-read these things now, when the temperature is a whopping 19 degrees and I’m wondering how many inches of snow and ice I’ll have to scrape off my car in the morning–and I can’t help but feel extremely grateful that I took the time to write these experiences down. Not only do these memories help me to get through another blah and gloomy day, but they remind me of all that I have to look forward to.
I’ve kept a journal since I was six; it’s probably the only thing I’ve kept up with consistently throughout my life. I make it a point, every so often, to break out an old journal and reflect on what was going on in my life at this time two, three, five, ten years ago. Sometimes I laugh to myself about the things that consumed my mind–the things I worried about and cared about. Like what I did at recess or ate for dinner, or whether my team won its roller hockey game, or who I was going to the homecoming dance with. But a lot of times, I find myself surprised at just how unchanging some things are: my concerns over family and friendships, my dedication to school, my paranoia about the future, my love for travel, my passion for writing.
I’ll never stop writing for reflection; even on busier days when I don’t have time blog or journal, I make an effort to jot down a bullet-point list of things I want my future self to remember. I do this because I believe in the power of reflection; of taking the time to document where I’ve been so that I can figure out where I want to go. To put things in perspective when life gets overwhelming. And to remind myself that–like the awful, shitty months of winter–even the worst things eventually get better.