Last winter it felt like I spent most of my time at funerals. My family had two bereavements in quick succession and our days were overshadowed by unhappiness and unbearable sadness.
he darker months can be difficult at the best of times, and last year was an odd and disorderly speck. I usually love the last quarter of the year. In my opinion it’s the best season of all. It’s all wrapped up and full of loving feelings.
Unfortunately my family and I didn’t have much of it last year and now it looks like this year will follow suit in a different way.
Personal tragedy and hardship aside, we face a winter of discontent and fear.
Instead of excitement about what’s good on dark evenings, there’s a buzz of dread and it’s difficult not to be totally consumed by the foreboding.
I’ve decided I can’t let that drag me in. A sad winter is tough, but two in a row is where I draw the imaginary line. My head and my heart can’t take it.
It’s easy for me to say that. My problems are undoubtedly tiny compared to others, but you’re doing what you can to survive and stay afloat. To do this, I do this irritating thing known as “focusing on the little things.” It’s all very toxic positivity, but I take virulent happiness over virulent sadness every day.
Winter, although dark and gloomy, is and always will be my favorite season.
However, my approach to last quarter happiness is a bit different than the gurus. I’m certainly not going to be an Amazon bestseller for self-development, but I hope I can shed some positive light on the end of 2022. My theory is that you should just do your best when you can. Life is hard enough without putting immense pressure on yourself to be something you can’t, especially in this economy.
I don’t wake up in the morning and thank the divine that I’m alive – I usually go straight to the bathroom. Winter mornings are dark and cold and my grateful nature doesn’t kick in until midday, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes I can’t get out of my pajamas or make the bed during the day.
I work just as well as those who do the opposite, and for that I am grateful. I get a lot of support from Wintertassen Tee. It simply does not taste so good at any other time of the year. Hug one whenever you can.
Next on my list is the old Irish tradition of a peat fire. I’m 27 and I’m scared to death of global warming. I hate overuse of plastic and cry at another tale of a terrible weather event, but a peat fire in the living room in the depths of November ignites an emotion in me I can’t explain. While I often berate my father for his peat choices, this year I will be grateful.
I also appreciate a hot port and it’s my only alcoholic beverage I need as the first day of October rolls around.
I hold my loved ones tight and while it’s not the Irish way I try to tell them after last winter and show them my love whenever I can. Life is too fleeting and fragile not to do.
And then there’s Kerry in winter, a majestic force. The Kingdom in summer is an unforgettable sight loved by people all over the world, but a walk on Ballybunion beach in winter is a sacred experience. You won’t feel anything of your limbs afterwards, but there is beauty in bitterness.
I love Kerry these months but I think the same goes for most counties. The tourists and outsiders leave and you are left with your own communities that you sustain. During difficult times for my family over the last year, it was neighbors and friends who held and still hold them.
While Dublin is beautiful in winter, being in the country is better. When I lived in the city, I never saw the changing of the seasons. Now I see them defined, and that’s a comforting thought. Winter comes and goes, as does spring, summer and everything else. We won’t stay long in the cold. Just like feelings and experiences, the clod passes.
As a country we have weathered many things and the coming months will be no different. We will get through it with our distinctive humor, tenacity and undeniable strength. Empathetic and giving to the core, we help each other. We will do what we can, give what we can, whenever we can. The Irish do this all the time. We don’t leave anyone behind.
So remember to hold on to these little things. In grief, loss and adversity, it can be difficult to see a better day, but you must keep looking. And I promise to do that too – keep looking for those flashes of light the inky black color of a winter’s day.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/winter-brings-challenges-but-there-are-joys-too-like-the-comforting-glow-from-a-turf-fire-41995680.html Winter brings challenges, but there are also joys – like the comforting glow of a turf fire