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Changing my mind through the changing seasons

I have always detested winter, but I have come to find some small joys hidden in the cold

<p>I started to see myself as more than someone’s potential girlfriend, but as a full person in my own right.</p>

I started to see myself as more than someone’s potential girlfriend, but as a full person in my own right.

Ever since the leaves started changing and the air grew chilly, I have felt dread creeping up on me. At risk of sounding like a melodramatic hater, I am going to be upfront and say that I think winter is the worst season. The days are shorter and darker, the air is colder, food is heavier and clothes are baggier. Some people love it, and they relish in chunky sweaters and snowy weather — not me, though. I cringe at the idea of snow and scowl when I see the temperature going down. Still, experiencing the full force of all four seasons for 21 years has made me reckon with the fact that winter is unavoidable. I’ve come to realize that maybe I can find some joy in the cold darkness. 

Summer is my time, and I feel at home with the warm sun bearing down on the ground well into the evening. I have developed many theories for why I am such a fan of the hottest months. Maybe it is because I was born in the sweltering month of August and was created to survive the heat. Maybe it is a Pavlovian response to the universal experience of summer break. Maybe I am naturally cold and less heat-sensitive. Or, maybe I am just objectively correct. Ultimately, my deep affinity for summer has never changed the course of the world, and every year I sit and watch as the foliage around me turns red and then brown and then white, as snow flurries catch onto the branches.

My hatred of winter is multifaceted. It can be explained by my aversion to the bitter cold and the 5 p.m. darkness. It has to do with the discomfort I experience when I put away my favorite dresses and pull out the long pants and clunky tops I must wear to survive the cold. It also arises around the new year as I mourn the slipping away of time.

None of this is to say that I am a complete Scrooge from November to March. Over the years, my icy feelings toward winter have been softened by the warmth and nostalgia I feel when I decorate my childhood Christmas tree and watch holiday movies with my roommates. Even feeling the winter breeze on Grounds sometimes makes me feel more alive. The joys I feel in winter are always less bold and intense than the joys of summer, but they are still there. Quiet and unassuming joy is still joy.

There is something comforting about cozying up with a blanket, a book and a cup of tea, and there is something exciting about trying new wintry recipes. Early darkness means more time to see the stars, and colder weather means that I can pull out the cute cardigans I folded away for the summer. Of course, one of the most critical elements that helped me warm up to winter was my discovery of fleece-lined tights — a game-changer for those of us missing mini skirts.  

I used to hate how slow everything felt in the winter, like the world was forcing me back inside every night, but now I see the merit in slowing down for a few months. I give myself more grace in the snowy season, mirroring the wintertime breaks in nature. Just as the flowers break from their bloom and the sun goes to bed early, I allow myself to relax a bit from December to March. Though spending cold days inside is not what I would consider to be the most entertaining activity, slowing down is strangely comforting. I’m able to put more time, thought and introspection into my schoolwork and hobbies, a part of winter I now regard as beautiful.

As someone who likes to die on obscure hills, coming to terms with the fact that winter is not all bad has been difficult. I have had to accept that my distaste for this season is not just objectively true, but it is a belief I have stubbornly held onto for most of my life for no particular reason. Letting go of that belief and working to see the good in my least favorite season has been freeing — allowing me to see the good in more intense life changes. It has helped me realize that no change is completely good or completely bad. In every significant life change, even those that seem scary or sad, there are some really beautiful moments to be found. 

Being a summer person in winter has pushed me to look in unexpected places for the little things that bring me happiness. Taking every new season for what it is does not mean that I will ever find myself eagerly awaiting the onset of winter. What it does mean is that I see that there is good to be found in all of life’s changes.


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