I have never been a big fan of winter. In fact, for many years, the very thought of it depressed me, and I can remember many winters that seemed to drag on, cold and grey and depressing, for far longer than the three months they were rightfully allotted.
But I made up my mind years ago that, if I was going to live in New England (which I do, and plan to continue), I was going to have to find a way not to be miserable all winter long. Winter here lasts for about a third of the year, all told, and to be miserable all winter means resigning to being miserable for roughly one third of your life.
So I have found ways to embrace and adapt. Living in a condo, I don’t have a fireplace to cozy up in front of, but I do have a cozy home with plenty of blankets and pillows and warm beverages and books and a dog and a cat with whom to cuddle. I can cook comfort food; I can talk on the phone or Zoom in with friends and family. I can dance in my living room and practice yoga there, too. Best of all, I can watch the snow fall from my balcony — without any worries about shoveling or clearing snow from my car. It’s actually a pretty cushy deal, and I’m grateful for it.
The hardest part for me, as for so many others, is the shortness of the day. One of my favorite days is the winter solstice, when, after waking to darkness and having dinner in darkness and watching the sunny patch in between grow ever shorter, that process reverses, and, tiny increment by increment, the days begin to grow longer once again. That’s not quite two and a half months from now. We can make it till then, right?
This year, of course, will be more challenging for us all as we continue to cope with whatever COVID-19 decides to deliver. The uncertainty is as scary as the virus itself. My plan is to hunker in my bunker, buy a UV lamp, make sure my Amazon Prime subscription is up to date, and continue taking precautions to protect myself and others however I can.
Beyond that, though, I’ve come to realize that watching out for myself just isn’t enough. We’re all in this together, and when one of us falters, we all do. So, in keeping with my ongoing desire to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, I’m going to continue keeping an eye out for folks who might need a hand, a smile, a virtual hug, or whatever else it might take to brighten their day.
This all coincides, though, with my recent decision to take a break from social media. Living alone and being single, and having finally severed the last, sad snippets of my former relationship, I have found myself spending increasingly absurd amounts of time on Facebook and Instagram, checking and checking and posting and posting and reading between lines and seeking attention and begging to be heard and feeling elated by the Likes — and the Loves — and devastated when they don’t pile up in the numbers I crave, and especially when certain people whose attention I had come particularly to crave didn’t chime in.
A few days ago I arrived at my own personal tipping point, literally held my phone at arm’s length, and asked myself what the fuck I was doing. I posted an explanatory message on Facebook, stayed logged in long enough to wallow in the messages of love and support that my dear friends posted in response, then logged off of both my FB and my IG accounts.
The next morning marked the first time I can remember when I didn’t wake up and immediately check my socials. I didn’t log back on all day, or the next day, or the day after that.
And I have been astounded at how much better I feel.
Honestly, I’m shocked. I have slept better. I have had more energy. I’ve had more time to read books — three novels this week, my friends! I’ve been writing and getting stuff done around the house and meditating. I’ve even been drinking less booze. It feels kind of like a miracle to me. For those of you considering taking a break, consider this my hearty endorsement.
I’ve already learned that those friends who care enough and who want to stay in touch will do so; so many of you have reached out via text or e-mail or phone to make sure I’m okay, to reassure me that I’m doing the right thing and you support me, and to make actual PLANS to get together (at a safe, masked distance, of course). Again, it feels kind of miraculous, and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to learn more about my place in the world and those dear people in my orbit. I’m starting to believe that like most things (including people) in life, Facebook came along at a time when it was useful to me, and perhaps now the time has come when I don’t really need, or particularly want, it any more.
But here’s the catch: I’ve so been enjoying writing this little blog of mine, and I love hearing from folks who read it and have found something in it with which to connect. That is so gratifying, and it’s demonstrated to me that writing remains a rewarding means of connecting with my fellow humans.
But linking CORRECTIVE SHOES to my Facebook account has been my major means of sharing it with others. And if I’m not posting it on Facebook, I’m not sure how to share it with my friends and loved ones.
So, for now, I’ve logged back in, very briefly, just long enough to post this and let it cycle through my friends’ news feeds (or whatever FB calls that these days). If you want to keep reading what I write, perhaps you could take a moment to follow me here? I know that seems like a shameless and brazen grab for followers, but, really, that’s not where my heart is. I don’t make any money from this endeavor; I just do it to share my little thoughts with others. So, I’ll completely understand if you don’t choose to follow.
But it would make me very happy if you did.