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Winter Came Early, Don’t Worry I’m Here For You

By Anne T. Donahue

Years ago (last year) I was foolish. I claimed to love winter and snow, and I condemned sunlight and warmth like the poster-woman for an unoriginal Hot Topic campaign. Now, older and in desperate need of vitamin D, heat, and the option of not having to wear a coat, I join the masses in our collective distaste for what’s happening: early winter. It’s here, it’s probably not going anywhere, and having recently vowed not to forsake my shoes (I am not ready for boots, not even a little bit), I am upset.

So here’s how I’m coping, and I suggest you do, too.

Know that we, as a people, are all miserable
There’s something so comforting about knowing that we’re all in something terrible together. This feeling crops up when we’re all stuck watching a movie that’s too long and arguably bad, it recently reared its head when Ricky Gervais was announced as this year’s Golden Globes host, and it originated when two strangers made eye contact in line at a store in regards to a difficult customer berating a sales attendant – only to be made stronger when you catch the eye of that sales associate and wordlessly ask, “Are you okay?” It is the feeling of, “I am bummed out, but I’m not the only one, thank heavens.”

Because right now, you are only alone if you’re thriving in snow and freezing temperatures in mid-November. The rest of us? We didn’t ask for this. We didn’t need it. Most of us would prefer it to rain all the way to December 25 and then get so cold that it can’t actually snow. But that didn’t happen. And instead, we’re living a collective truth in which we sometimes forget it was only October two weeks ago. And then we weep, united by a chorus of tears and muffled screams of “no” and “why.” Our new national anthem, bless us everyone.

Lean into the holidays, maybe?
Ugh. Yes, Christmas is coming, and true, the Santa Claus parades are scheduled to launch. But as much as I love writing Christmas cards with the intention of making everybody I’ve ever met realize they now need to mail me one (I’m evil?), I do not love forced fun.

So I say skip the forced fun. Skip the merriment and the pressure to make cookies shaped like small homes. Instead, lean into the best parts as a coping mechanism: eat shrimp rings for dinner, consume entire advent calendars in one sitting, skip work to watch Last Christmasbecause honestly why not, you deserve this, we’re all so tired. I’ve eaten two Swiss Chalet festive specials since the start of November, and by the end of the month, I plan to multiple that number by 62. Am I reckless? Yes. Will it get me through this cold, snowy abyss? Perhaps. But I do what I want, and the holidays fall under that umbrella. I will not force Secret Santa on my loved ones, but I recently poured holiday chocolate into a candy dish and I do not intend to share it.

Live in Denial
Maybe I’ve lost my mind since crashing my car last week (I have), but I love and support denial in a way that is likely unhealthy. That said, it works. And so as we gaze out upon the snow and ice, might I suggest we pretend it isn’t happening. Might I suggest we wear sneakers until we physically cannot and abandon full-length jeans until we pass away. Dare I recommend doing what dads and uncles have done over decades a.k.a. wearing winter coats with shorts and loafers. Drive with the windows down with the heat cranked full-blast on your feet. Order lemonade despite it being completely bizarre to pass up a delicious, warm apple cider. Listen to every “song of the summer” and post about how much you love fall.

We are in the worst season during a terrible time, and it is up to us to create our own realities. My reality will be writing Christmas cards tonight in front of Billions, likely while eating Hawaiian pizza because I am an adult who makes my own choices. I will wear a vest instead of a coat when I go outside, and whisper “I own you” to my cookies and cream advent calendar because I’m not ready to begin it yet, but want it to know that I could. Then, at some point, I will wear sneakers – likely foolishly. But it won’t matter because you will be doing the same thing, too.

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