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30 New Things

22 October 2013

Painfully Honest Moment: Winter is really hard for me.

Especially after Christmas is over

Photo credit: TexasEagle

Photo credit: TexasEagle

Everything turns gray, and I feel it in my bones. The sky is gray and distant, and the frozen pavement reflects it. I try to romanticize the first snowfall, but it quickly gets piled up and half-melted and dirty from automobile exhaust. The cold air makes my nose run and my skin bristle, and pushes me inside – inside a warm house, a warm blanket, inside myself.

I read authors who like winter, and I try. I swear I do. I try to enjoy the “crisp” air, and I listen to the snow crunch under my boots. I try to see the sparkles and I try to sit still in the peace, but you know what else is still and peaceful?


I like my peace on a sunny beach, where the ocean keeps a steady pulse.

Every winter I try to accept it, be present in it, fall down and make the occasional snow angel … but then I get back up and I’m cold and wet, and if there’s a way to relish being cold and wet I haven’t figured it out yet.

Every winter I wonder why I live in Chicago.

And I’ve tried, in recent winters, to look for the good bits – photograph them, write about them, appreciate them. It’s never really cured me.

So this winter I’m trying something new. I’m taking some inspiration from my 30th birthday, and setting up a challenge. I like checklists and goals – I know, I know: add “OCD” right next to “SAD,” I’m just piling up the acronyms – so my strategy for surviving winter this year without succumbing to four months of melancholy (’cause let’s be real – autumn has been pretty bleak so far) is 30 New Things.

I want to eat 30 new foods, visit 30 new places, and make 30 new things.

Maybe it’s not so much about enjoying winter as it is about strategically ignoring it, but that’s okay with me. After 29 winters, I’ve accepted that I just don’t like it.

And I figured I can’t be the only one, so whose coming with me?

I’m not going to set up rules, just enjoy it. If you like to cook, and you want to prepare and eat 30 new things, do it. Personally, I don’t cook, so preparing a new dish is going to count as “making” (and maybe “eating”) for me. You can count a new spin on a favorite dish, or go all Andrew Zimmerman-times-30 on your hometown. Visit 30 states, or drop by 30 small businesses in your area that you’ve been wanting to check out.

I am going to set up a hashtag, though. My battle against the forces of winter blahs will be here, but it will also – more immediately – be on Instagram. ‘Cause there needs to be that checklist, you know, and on IG we can all play together! If you’re there too, use #30NewThings, so the rest of us can cheer you on and glean some inspiration. If you’re not on IG, use the tag on Twitter or Facebook. I’ll find you.

So you in? Any other winter-haters out there? How do you survive it?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy Parent permalink
    22 October 2013 9:37 AM

    I’m with you. I don’t like winter either. I think somewhere in my lineage was a bear because all I want to do come winter time is hybernate. So where did I move? Colorado where we have winter forever, that is, until mud season. Doesn’t that sound exciting?! The snow is gone by May sometime and the flowers come in June. One thing different here from Chicago is, I’m told, the sun shines and the sky is blue unless it’s snowing. We’ll find out.

    • Lex permalink*
      22 October 2013 6:05 PM

      Nancy, you’re so funny. I always thought you were crazy for moving to Colorado. I’m glad you agree. 😉 If you want that helicopter lift when we get to spring in Chicago, I’ll call it in. 😉

      • Nancy Parent permalink
        22 October 2013 11:43 PM

        Believe me, if winter goes on too long I’ll be on the train home, at least for a little while. Summer here is quite wonderful.

  2. 22 October 2013 1:00 PM

    Count me in!

  3. Shelly permalink
    22 October 2013 9:19 PM

    I’m in 😄

  4. 27 October 2013 2:55 PM

    Ugh – I lived in Chicago for one winter and it was definitely worse than Toronto. So windy (and I thought it was just an outdated label for the city!) Good luck with your challenge – it’s a fab idea.

    • Lex permalink*
      28 October 2013 10:43 PM

      Gosh, worse than Toronto? Great to know. 😉

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