Saturday, February 2, is the midpoint of winter, which means we’re halfway to spring.

I don’t care much for January and February. And I’ve been struggling to find my zen this past month. Maybe it’s the inevitable let-down after the fall (my favorite season) or the uncertainty of the year ahead that can sometimes seem daunting. Either way, there’s just something about this time that always feels a little off, and slightly melancholy for me.

And before anyone says anything, my feelings have nothing to do with the Indiana winter! Even when I lived in San Diego, I didn’t like the early months of the year and I had these same feelings of blah. And no matter how bleak the midwinter can be, you still couldn’t pay me enough to move back to California.

For the last two years at this time, I wrote blog posts about what’s saving my life right now. It’s a post that many bloggers write on February 2. The concept comes from author Barbara Brown Taylor. In her memoir, Leaving Church, Taylor tells about a time she was invited to speak, and her host assigned her this topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”

The idea behind this prompt is most of us know what’s bothering us and can articulate all those things pretty clearly. But, she says, few of us stop to note what’s giving us life. What are these things — whether little or big — that are helping us live our lives?

I used this as a prompt in the drop-in writing happy hour I hosted this week, and asked the attendees to write about what the bleak midwinter means to them and what is giving them happiness. I participated in the writing exercise as well, and here’s what I wrote:

In the bleak midwinter … when it can be terribly cold, or not very cold at all, and the trees are bare and the skies are grayer than not, I find myself in a strange place. A place where thoughts can seem as dark and heavy as the January air. … So in the bleak midwinter, I’m grateful for roads. Open roads that appear endless. Roads that allow me to put one foot in front of the other, pressing on the pavement below and breathing in the cold air. Roads that feel like the key to freedom. Freedom from sad thoughts, negativity, and dark days when the sky doesn’t want to let the sun shine through its thick clouds. Freedom to think beyond what the mind will allow. I’m grateful for roads that will soon look like spring, in just a few short months.

For the last two years, I’ve enjoyed the exercise of reflecting on the things that make me happy at this time. It’s been comforting to go back and read these posts, as well as my daily perpetual journal, so I don’t focus too much on thinking that it’s only my current month that’s leaving me feeling this way.

So at this midpoint of winter, I’m writing down the little things that are giving me life today:

Tell me what’s saving your life right now. Or better yet, make your own list!

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your list Leah! I share many on your list — especially the reading. Good books are definitely giving me life right now. Perhaps too much, to the detriment of getting other things done! I feel the same type of slump this time of year, even though I’m not in any type of polar vortex. I think it’s the post-holiday season blues and the feeling that everything (whatever “everything” is) is just so far away!

    1. Thank you, Caryn! I’m glad you feel the same about this time of year as well. I think you’re right – the feeling that everything feels far away – has a lot to do with it.

  2. Hi Leah,
    Your writing is always a blessing to me. I tend to get into a slump any time of the year, probably because of my health. Got a procedure on my back yesterday so that has made me feel energetic. Than it started to Rain. Now I know that here in California we Need it. But it put a crimp in my day!!!
    I too like to read, and well tend to let things go. Larry even has called me by name to talk to me and I really did not hear him.! For me reading has given me life because I don’t feel the pain when I am reading. Love 60’s Music, rock to that and the cares go away, at least for a while. Next on the list for the new year is Larry and I are going to go to the gym, and get fit “If it Kills Us!!!” Give my love to Bryan and Sophie! Love you my sweet Niece!!! Aunt Pam

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