Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Long Winter Blues

It's much too cold, isn't it?

I think if we asked most people what they thought the worst month of the year is, assuming they didn't just pick the ones containing holidays they don't like, the obvious winner would certainly have to be January. Despite it being the first month of a new year, it frequently feels as if it is not quite the fresh start we hope it to be. Most people, in my view, see it as confirmation that the worst will continue unabated. This is mostly due to the weather hangover sticking around over the New Year's celebration, and into February. It doesn't help that the month is so long, either.

Whether you are one who loves the New Year celebration or not, you would have to admit that January most definitely does not sustain that feeling you get from entering a new year with all that hope in your heart. Usually, the punishing cold and snow, which most of us tire of long before January, lasts far too long into the fresh year, making most steer into a depressing mood before anything has even really started. It quickly switches people from hopeful moods into despairing ones. And all of this happens in less than a month!

I can only speak of personal experience, but it is one thing I've noticed being on this earth for as long (and as little) as I have been. January is the month of nothing where no one wants to do anything, typically have no motivation to do anything, and let themselves be beaten down by all the worst parts of life that they think will always follow them down. Even on my social media timeline is it more gloom and doom than it normally is, especially compared to what is was at Christmas in December. It feels like a backslide more than a new start.

There are medical reasons that lead to this feeling, too. Shorter daylight hours and lack of sunlight and serotonin can effect the brain in a very negative way. Even worse when one's exercise routine is cut into due to the terrible weather some places receive which make it more of a hassle and challenge. And because of this down state, we tend to keep to ourselves, draw in, and refuse to connect with others. In other words, this is a good reason why so many resolutions at New Years can't even make it through the first month.

The easiest thing to say is to just "get over it" and exercise or communicate with people regardless of how you feel, but what may be better to do is to use the opportunity to understand why we fall into this rut in the first place. It might truly be seasonal, it might be health related, it might involve personal issues, or it might just be bad timing, but all contribute to letting the isolation and cold get to us in a way we simply don't at any other time of the year. To be honest, this is probably one of the biggest advantages to living in the south: not having to deal with the winter blues, or at least not having to deal with all the factors that lead to it.

Let's face it, by January, we're already waiting for spring. To be fair, the promise of a new year and a fresh start is more suited to that season anyway!

On the other hand, the current state of the world probably doesn't help with the mood, especially after years of a pandemic that broke societal cohesion and trust in a way we've never seen in our lives before. It is far more likely that this feeling is the result of more than just a medical or season issue: it just becomes more visible in the darker months of the year. Unfortunately, the darkest months just so happen to come at the beginning.

You might be wondering about the tone shift of the blog this year. That is because I've noticed things have been getting rather bleak out there. Not just in the online space, but everywhere I look there seems to be a dark cloud hanging over something. Regardless of your religious or political beliefs, everyone can see something bad is coming on the horizon, like the end of an era. We don't really know what that will consist of or when it will happen, but we all realize how things are simply can't go on as they have been. It is not sustainable.

But this blog is called Wasteland & Sky, there are two words for a reason. You can always have hope in what comes ahead. There is plenty of good out there, much to still strive for. If we give up now, we give up on ourselves and everyone else as well as the world we were given by God. However long we might have until whatever is bound to happen actually happens, we still have work we can do. There is no point harboring anxiety about a future that will come for us eventually. We can only control what we choose to do after it arrives.

What we need right now more than ever is to remember that life is worth living in a time where it does not always feel so, where being alone is looked at as the highest good while alienation and atomization kills. Whether it's the little things or the bigger things, there's always a reason you were given the gift to rise in the morning. You aren't alone out there.

I realize this post is a bit out of the realm of this blog, but I feel it's something worth mentioning regardless, because it isn't a topic we talk about all too much or ever really comes up. January always seems to sneak up on us, then we limp slowly from it, never bothering to bring attention to the odd tonal shift it causes every single time it blindsides a new year. We don't have to let it do that. We can still keep steady on course.

So I'll put this out as a reminder, not just to you, but myself as well. We made it to a new year! Not everyone got to experience it. Not only that, but there are countless numbers of people who lived before and will live in the future that will never live in the time period you are in right now. There are things only you can do, things only you can accomplish at this very moment! It might not even be a big thing, but everything ends up snowballing regardless. Eventually it all comes together in ways you will never expect. It's all connected, in the end.

To be clear, I don't know how much longer we will have to walk in the wilderness. No one really does. But it will end eventually. All things do. And when it ends, we will be there to see in what comes next--what we have helped build up for the oncoming future.

Don't let the cold and the dark beat you down. It's just temporary. Just consider it a break from the more hectic times of the year, a moment of rest to recharge your batteries. We can't be moving at high speed all the time, after all. Take it easy, if you need to, but don't let it hold you down. Just keep moving forward.

Once again, welcome to 2023! We've got a brand new year waiting ahead of us. Let's be sure to make it count!


  1. I like your philosophical blog posts. We can't always be dissecting the beginnings of Fandom. Although I admit to going back and rereading your Fandom blogs! I ought to just buy your convenient book.

    1. Either way, I appreciate you reading the blog!

  2. This is the reason why I almost go into hibernation (by human standards, I guess). I don't feel much energy so I'd rather recharge my batteries than let my Winter Blues take hold of any my output.

    1. Yeah, it's tough. Never been my favorite time of the year.