Spring may be upon us but I’m still feeling the unwelcome clutch of winter. While I cannot imagine living somewhere without seasons, winter seems to have become something one must just get through. While the cold air and bright snow do make December feel more festive, the month concludes in a rush of festivities landing you in January like being evicted from John Malkovich’s brain and dumped in a ditch off the New Jersey Turnpike. There is some saving grace for January. Early January holds the excitement and hope of a new year with new beginnings and after surviving the overbooked holidays the quiet winter of January can be refreshing. Then comes February. No matter what the groundhog attempts to convince you of winter is not over. It may be nice one day but then there will be snow, it will be cold, and you will be miserable. Stores full of hearts, candies, and teddy bears provide little solace. These trinkets are intended to signify love and romance yet all I see is another excuse for commercialism in the mid-winter land of cold, wet, and gloom lit by the fluorescence of big box stores trying to fill the gap between Christmas and Easter.
It’s really not St. Valentine’s fault. I have fond childhood memories of Dad coming home from work with little Russell Stover hearts for my brother and I when we were small. Growing up we didn’t get many special treats outside of holidays making these chocolates especially exciting and memorable. Somewhere along the journey to adulthood the holiday, and the season, lost their charm. Now, the sole purpose of Valentine’s Day is to mark that February, and winter, are half over. Adult indifference towards the Hallmark holiday means being single on Valentine’s Day really isn’t a bother. It’s the rest of February as winter continues to drag on when being single seems to signify being alone more than any other time of year.
Nobody warns you that being an adult means losing all the ready-made circles of friends and potential partners that you had when you were young. This is especially true with trends towards remote employment. The luxury of working from home comes at the cost of being alone. There’s always meet-ups and online dating – daunting prospects for the socially awkward and anxious. I tried match.com once. My inability to choose a punny username led to the decision to simply use my initials and birthday, 4/20. It took me a minute to figure out why I was attracting a certain type of match that did not on paper have much in common with a scientist who liked reading, writing, and hiking. The most promising match was a guy who coached kids sports and could only go out if it was raining. I gave up.
My life is made up of units of time. Exercising – two units. Walking the dog – three units. Cooking – two units.
I’m not convinced that winter is any easier when coupling. Units of time may shift to homework, dinnertime, bath time, and bedtime, but fundamentally I think we’re all still just pushing through the season while dreaming of spring’s flowers, summer’s beaches, and fall’s foliage. I sometimes wonder if this is a life but for the time being I am an island. I am bloody Ibiza! As long as I’m not Greenland I’ll be fine.