Embracing Winter

It's that time of year, when the winter seems never ending and Mother Nature won't let go of her fascination with the cold, even though everyone wants her to just move on, alreadyFebruary and March?  Every year it's a slog. Life just feels weighty, bland, dreary this time of year. At least for me, anyway.

In my early twenties, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, though I suspect I cycled in and out of that tangle undiagnosed since the early years, 11 or 12, maybe younger. Currently, I have a pretty good handle on the two, and over time have ingrained behaviors and thought patterns that help to keep me from sinking too low with the depression, or from winding up too tight with the anxiety. While I haven't experienced a prolonged major depressive episode in a long time, I am still prone to a lighter fare, garden variety seasonal depression that I think nips at most people around this time.

Experience has taught me to make an effort to fill up the winter months with happy little sign posts -- get togethers, outings and other such distractions to bridge the way to brighter, vitamin-D lit times, when everyone finally receives a natural mood lift that comes with the arrival of Spring.

One strategy I've employed since returning to the great white north has been to embrace wintertime.  Last year was tough with the relentless Zero-and-below temps freezing out our ski bunny plans (though we made it out eventually). And this year, in a twist of irony -- or whatever it's a twist of, if not irony --this winter in Minnesota, the temps have actually been too high to engage in some of the winter activities I'd planned as distraction.

Although snowshoeing was a bust, B and I did get to try one "cool" new wintery activity In Feb - one that made us feel a little more Minnesotan. We recently got to try our hand at CURLING!  Turns out, our lovely and awesome friend, GC, is quite the curling aficionado. She was on her high school curling team way back in the day in Canada, and she now curls in a league here in the Twin Cities. She recently organized a Curling Clinic to introduce her friends to the sport, and B and I decided to give it a shot.

Frogtown Curling Club in St. Paul, MN

OK, for anyone who has ever questioned the legitimacy of curling as a sport, listen up.  That shit takes some serious athleticism! All of us newbies looked ridiculous, jauntily tripping our way down the ice, grasping to find a rhythm as we tried our hands at curling and sweeping, testing our skills (or quickly discovering our lack thereof, as it were in my case) in various team positions (lead, second, third and skip). As out of our element as we all felt, we had a terrific time. Bonus, curling is an extremely beer-friendly sport, and we enjoyed plenty of courtside (sheetside?) brews between (and yes, during) "ends." Check out those smiling, happy curling faces!

Left to Right: AL, GC our organizer, ME, HRL, BM, taking a break from the action.

Curling was not one of my 'original' 2015 100, but it was such a fun and unique experience (and helped, at least temporarily with the winter blues), I had to add it as #101.