I’m not a fan of January (or February for that matter). The cold winds and dreary days of winter sap my energy and leave me feeling the need to hunker down and wait for spring. This January was no exception. In my mind, snow days, sub-zero cold, and the darkness that accompanies deep winter must simply be endured. This year, however, after so much travel and upheaval in my life I found that January can also be enjoyed, just a little.
When the plane landed on January 1st, I was so happy to be headed home to my little cottage in the woods, I forgave the fact that it was actually -13 degrees. When we unpacked our bags and began to settle back into our lives, I found that the forced seclusion of winter, fit very nicely into my need to be home tending my soul. Winter pajamas, flannel sheets, and warm stews also helped to make me feel cozy at home. My very favorite part of winter is still our beautiful wood stove. Its heat warms my soul and creates a space for life and relationship to flourish. Within the comfort of my home, I found several things that made life better.
Friendships: We welcomed friends into our house to share a meal and catch up on life. We reconnected and renewed our commitments to each other. There are few things I enjoy more than gathering people I love and listening to their stories. We caught up with friends on a blustery Friday night at a local restaurant and laughed over stories and longtime friendships. We made plans for an upcoming Saturday lunch. As the calendar turned to the new year, we prioritized friendship and made a place for it on our calendar.
Financial Literacy: Keith and I have been listening to audio books for months. We’ve covered topics deep and wide. For January, we committed to reading a book about financial literacy. It was hard. I had to listen only on the way to work, the ride home was far too dark and weary for the topic. Unlike other books, I did not sit in the driveway listening to the end of the chapter, but I did learn a lot. It made me consider how little I really know about handling our finances. It made me think about why I didn’t make this more of a priority. I don’t know that I will apply all of the suggestions in this particular book, but I am committed to continuing to learn.
Simplify: I’m not entirely sure why I have this strange urge to order a dumpster and throw away everything we own… but I am resisting it for now. Instead, I am committing to moving methodically through my life looking for ways to simplify our lives. I’m starting in my bathroom. A couple of weeks ago, we spent an hour planning out the shelving and organizational tools I need to make our bathroom work better for us. Keith, as always, is on it! So, we will be culling the stuff, simplifying the design, and making every part work better. And this is just the beginning.
Wool hats: I’ve never really been a winter hat kind of girl. Mostly because I’m not a winter outside kind of girl. If I can simply make it from the house to the car and the car to the _____ fill in the blank, I’m good. My new job, however, makes that a bit more complicated. I work on a college campus with buildings sprawling out across an urban hillside. Getting from point A to point B in the winter has brought a whole new set of challenges. Wool hats have been a lifesaver. I may still arrive at the meeting with tears running down my face and a red runny nose, but at least I have not had frostbite. Who knew how useful these things can be? Not me. Until now.
So, we are deep in the throes of winter, here in New England. What made January better for you?