Living in a place with an actual winter season has made me realize something about myself. Despite what I might wish, I am a desert rat — I’m used to the sunshine, the heat, the dryness. Take me away from that and I’m not quite sure how to function. Maybe this is something everyone from places with actual, cold winters feels? Maybe as the days get shorter, the air more frigid, they too feel their body slow into sluggish molasses and soon their mind stutters, as well? Or maybe it’s something unique to where I’m living.

Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. Or, in the case of the winter months, the land of poor insolation and bone-burrowing cold. It’s not as cold as Canada, Missouri, Alaska, and a score of other places. Yet, I’ve found I always feel cold unless the heat is literally blasting away because Japan does not insulate sufficiently. Well, okay, most of Japan doesn’t insulate well; I’ve been to Hokkaido and they seem just fine.

And so I find myself becoming more dormant during the winter months. It’s just too cold to think properly and do things properly. When you’re layered with coats, thermal underwear, gloves, and hats outside — and sometimes inside as you wait for your space heater to power up or if you leave your one area that the space heater reaches — everything becomes exhausting. Moving becomes exhausting. Thinking becomes exhausting.

Add a small dose of seasonal depression.

I don’t get it bad (don’t worry, family), but there’s definitely a light dusting. I lose interest in hobbies, I watch a lot of TV as I borrow under my electric blanket, I take a lot of naps, and I eat a lot. Winter is when I just don’t want to do anything, except maybe eat and sleep. I avoid chores, I avoid people. I think to myself: I really should be doing this…and that…but I just can’t be bothered.

I don’t remember being like this in Arizona, where the sun shined nearly 365 days of the year. Where winter meant pulling out a sweatshirt — oh, yes, and those two weeks you could wear a scarf and hat. But the sun didn’t set at 4:30 PM, or rise at 7:00 AM, and I think that makes a vast difference. Japan, which actually doesn’t follow daylight savings time, may benefit from it.

But now, as we’re entering March, the weather is definitely…Spring-ish. And I can feel a spring in my step coming back. Much like the flowers, I’m waking up. I’m noticing things again. My mind feels quicker and more active. I’m doing hobbies again — like this blog! I’m writing again. I’m slowly, but steadily, going back to the gym. Spring is a relatively good season in Japan, until the rains come which inevitably slide everything into the muggy, horrible, burning summer. But, for right now, the Spring season holds promise.

I’m ready to meet some goals.


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