Lately, I’ve seen a little backlash against the idea that the difference of a day on a calendar from 2016 to 2017 means that the world starts fresh and new. I agree, it’s a little arbitrary to say that everything changed when I woke up on January 1, but it’s still a nice concept that we get a little refresher every year. A slight reset. Calories still count the same. Bills still cost the same. Politics are still as they are. The people you see every day are hopefully still there (or not). A job maybe gets a little breather after having a day off, if you get one. It’s a way for us to reframe and shift our thinking a little. And it’s a time to remind ourselves that we do have some control over our worlds. We can approach things from a new perspective. Our habits can be shifted a bit. We can intentionally change lanes. And we can be healthier in body, heart, and mind.
This issue may seem like a bunch of events. Some cool clothes. A funky new place to eat and spend hours indoors, having fun with other people. But look at the piece on seasonal depression and let that frame a bit of this issue for you too. As we start this new year, the days are already getting longer, but the air is still cold and biting. It’s a time when we burrow into our insular worlds a little more, something that can be detrimental to our well-being. I tell you, my world with my dog, Grendel, can be pretty small and stifling if I stay in it too long. I’m not a full-on extrovert, but I can actually feel my body become restless when I haven’t seen anyone but my dog in too long a time. If you’re at all similar to me, you can look at this issue as a guide for how to make sure we get out there and stay engaged in the world. And, as my people the Norwegians say (I’m sure it’s not just their saying), “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” So bundle up and be weather aware, and get out there.
And, please, keep an eye on each other. Reach out. Check up. Drop by. Answer the phone. Heck, dial the phone. Extend yourself. Considering how many in this community surround themselves with chosen family rather than blood relations, it’s important to be there. Be each other’s keeper, particularly when the days are dark and cold. Especially when the weather might forecast a “cold with a chance of dismal.”
With you and with warmth,