It is that time of year. The sun inches towards the southern horizon. The days getting shorter, the nights longer. It has been colder than normal. My job has me out in the cold. I dress for it as best I can, but by day's end I am chilled to the bone. The cold and dark fatigue me like nothing else. I feel worn out, exhausted, bedraggled. Like something the dog dragged in, rolled on, chewed up, and drooled all over. Yesterday was freezing and damp, a near lethal combination. After work I knew that heading straight home would be a death knell. I went to the pool, got in a solid 55 laps, then hit the jacuzzi. The hot water was my carrot on a stick for the swim: no swim, no jacuzzi. I vowed to sit in the near scalding water until I was so overheated I felt sick. It worked. I was still radiating heat when I got home.
Nevertheless, the cold, dark, grey days make it hard for me to function. All I wanted to do today was huddle around a space heater, stoke the woodstove, and drink copious amounts of hot beverage. Yes, I did do too much of that. But I managed to get in a decent 2 hour workout of cycling, legwork, and Yoga before making myself a gigantic lunch.
I needed to get outside, I had a roof to fix for a friend, and at least it wasn't raining, yet. Finally, I bundled up and headed out. I was surprised at how temperate it felt, at least in comparison to the last few days. My mood elevated immediately. The roof repair was quick, and just enough to get my circulation moving and my spirit elevated. I shuffled some of my salvaged building materials, taking stock, pondering projects, talking to myself. "Hey, where did those windows come from? I don't remember getting windows..." and my mind is off building a greenhouse. I tidied up for a few minutes, and then in typical ADD/OCD manner I was on my knees setting more stone and brick for my patio. Funny how my focus narrows when I am working on something that interests me. Raking leaves? Not so much. Playing with rocks? Hellz yeah.
Working on fitting together a mix of field stone, river rock, brick, and tile reinforces a few things I already know about myself: I love making cool shit; I love surrounding myself with beautiful things that bring me joy; when I am working on something that fascinates me I cannot pull my attention away, or do anything else with any kind of focus; and finally, I am absolutely incapable of making a random design. That last point actually makes me laugh at myself. Try as I might, I cannot do random. I have to organize things into some kind of pattern, even if it is abstract, I have to see a pattern. I worked on my patio until it was almost dark, then had to pull myself away to get firewood in for the evening.
This time of year I have two choices. I can force myself to be active, functional, and creative. Or I can sleep too much, get fat, and have to rely on a little, pink pill to keep my mind from climbing on the hamster wheel of depression and anxiety. Even if I am spending a bit more time huddled around a heater, swaddled in a dog hair covered, oversized, polar fleece bathrobe, binge watching episode of Poirot on Netflix, and sucking down vast quantities of tea or black coffee, I am still not relying on that pink pill. I don't plan on needing them, though I have a stash on hand (just in case).
Life is about choices. "Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice." I choose active, functional, and creative, with maybe a bit of heater hugging, tea drinking tossed into the seasonal mix. My life. My choice.