I've been fighting a case of The Bummers lately. The Bummers tend to hit around this time of year, and if you live in a cloudy, cold climate at the moment, you totally understand. I can't say that I have full-on SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, thanks to zero sunlight or at least very little of it) or anything like that. It's more just a tendency to feel.....bummed. Like, bummer...it's cold - again. Bummer - there's not enough snow to play in, but there's enough on the sidewalk that I'll bite the dust if I try to go running outside. Bummer - there still exists the high potential for another whollop storm or two before we leave Bummer season. Bummer - I need to shovel the sidwalk again. Bummer - I keep turning the heat up. Bummer - I have to take the dog out to pee and robe myself with six layers for a grand total of ten seconds. Bummer - I miss the flowers, the sunshine, putting clothes out on my line, and having the windows open.
I think you get the picture. It's right around February that you start having visions of longer days filled with sunshine, walking out on the pier, going to the beach, buying flowers at the Farmer's Market, all that stuff. Or you have visions of selling everything you own and hitting the road to move to San Diego. Don't think we haven't talked about it!
So what to do to combat the Bummers? Here are some of the things we've done (well, I don't think Matt ever really gets the Bummers, but I'll include him by default)...
1. Join Netflix. A monthly fee, and a neat little red envelope pops up in the mailbox. A good movie, a nice hot bowl of popcorn, and a warm fleece blanket chases the Bummers away pretty well for an evening. And we didn't even have to go out to Blockbuster and pick through a bunch of flicks we've never heard of.
2. An annual Lord of the Rings marathon. It's just that good.
3. Plans with friends. Coffee dates. Dinners out. Game nights (not that we've done that yet, but it SOUNDS fun!). Quick weekend trips.
4. Exercise!!!! This has been a life-saver! I discovered how cool the hospital's "gym" is that is free for employees - WHY have I been dinking around with gym memberships??? I ran downtown with my friend Nancy the other day - downtown Holland's sidewalks are heated and therefore one is less prone to totally biff in the winter (if you do, it's YOUR fault, NOT the snow's!), and while it was dang COLD, it felt good. And it was sunny.
5. Keeping the radio on - my current fave is Moody Radio. I love to listen to sermons and speakers and the news and music, and Moody has all of the above. And it pumps good stuff into the atmosphere of our home. I find that what I listen to profoundly affects my attitude.
6. Looking forward to summer!!! Planning a garden, talking about how much we look forward to our favorite activities (we love going to the beach for an after-dinner walk), going to the Farm...when we start thinking about it, we start to realize it WILL be here before we know it!!
7. Of course, hauling out the National Geographic mags, scissors, tape, and my Dream Book NEVER hurts!
8. Cooking!!! I went to the library the other day and checked out a bunch of Vegetarian Times magazines. The glossy pictures of bright fruits and vegetables make me want to jump up and get my chef on!! Even the lady who checked me out was swooning over the veggie kabobs pictured on one of the covers. If I have to cook in order to see some color, then cook I will.
9. Learning something new. Lately I've been fascinated with cooking with whole foods and learning more about nutrition. As a result, tons of people have come out of the woodwork asking for advice on dealing with food allergies, recipes, etc. VERY FUN! I'm eating it up, so-to-speak. I just finished reading "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan, and "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser, and am now moving on to "The Omnivore's Dilemma," also by Pollan. I simply find it fascinating and fun.
10. Finally...dreaming. Dreaming about things we'd love to do definitely cures the Bummers. Should we....go on a short-term missions trip someday? Where would we go if we took a year off to travel around the world (like YOU, Cynthia!!)? What would we do if we could buy that huge Victorian house on 15th Street that has, like, a hundred rooms in it...would we take in a ton of foster kids or troubled pregnant teens or adopt a ton of kids or what?? My friend Susanne and I are meeting for coffee next week to just...dream a few dreams. Well, it's more specific than that, but I'm not sharing it yet. We'll see what we come up with. ;)
And even writing this post has provided a quick Bummer remedy!! Hey man, winter isn't such a bummer after all!! (And don't get me wrong - I do love a good, cold, snowy winter. But I like to play outside...and this winter has been pretty mild, so the "fun" snow has become more slushy, and when it's gray and slushy, THAT'S when it's not fun anymore!)
Anyway, if you're feeling The Bummers, take heart. Plan a movie night, a junk food night, a trip to the library to get a stack of magazines, have a game night, plan a day trip...SOMETHING!!! Very soon the smell of elephant ears and the sound of Dutch Dancers will be fixed on us, and the Bummers will be....SUMMER!