My first San Diego holiday season is winding down, but the pace of life isn’t. Granted turkey dinner with all the trimmings at Ocean Beach was tranquil, and meandering Christmas day away at the San Diego Zoo was a blast, but talk about no rest for the weary. San Diego’s beautiful weather is a constant call to action. I’m not conditioned to withstand year round biking, boarding, and bikinis. This city invented stamina and my body is conditioned for winter.

I used to get a certain guilty pleasure from the long abyss that is winter. Some may label it Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I may go as far as labeling it lazy bliss. Either way, I can’t shake it. I may have loved it once, but now it is time to move on. My body continues to send signals to hunker down, but there is no need, thanks to San Diego. The holidays take on a new meaning now, there’s a certain ease about them. In Ohio, Thanksgiving meant a decadent day of stuffing my face sprinkled with football and family. A day often dictated by rising and falling blood sugar levels. But, it was after all a time to reflect and pay thanks momentarily before the official kick start to the more hectic Christmas season. From the moment the plates are cleared and the last slice of pumpkin pie disappears, you embark on a battle against Mother Nature for Christmas readiness and celebration. Hanging lights, shopping, and travel can become huge undertakings. But whatever nature cooks up, it is no match for the Christmas spirit. A great amount of energy is exerted this time of year, mounting in one final push toward the festivities surrounding New Year’s Eve. But then, New Year’s Day brings an epic shift in energy that marks the descent into the comfortable lull of winter. After fighting to preserve the holiday season and winning, it is time to concede to nature.

This is a time when you crave the coziness of home, to shelter and protect you from the harshness of winter. If you chose to embrace the carbohydrate craving, increased sleep, social withdrawal of the season, you have the perfect excuse for not hanging out with friends when you’re not in the mood to go out and bump into strangers and drink $8 beers. Oh and if you lose your razor or self control when confronted by the evil Ben and Jerry’s, no worries. You won’t need to fit in a bikini for six months and there’s a real freedom in that. Okay, maybe not shaving is a little gross and the national menace the Forever Lazy is a real threat. I vow to fight my natural tendencies and enjoy all the sunshine that winter in California provides me. I’m grabbing my tennis racquets and hitting the courts. I’m strutting around town in a light jacket, and simply soaking up the sun any way possible. It will be a long transition because Seasonal Affective Disorder is so far engrained in my psyche. Winter may always represent a time of increased appetite, sleep, loss of energy and interest in activities, social withdrawal, irritability, and slow, sluggish movement to me. Hey, change is a process. So if you see me out cranky at the Casbah, dragged out for the night by my friends, all the while secretly stashing away my Snuggie in the back of my closet, cut me some slack. It’s winter after all, and I’d rather be hibernating.

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Ruth Newell Jan. 1, 2012 @ 10:53 a.m.

Wonderful! SAD affected me psychologically more than physically. Very nice piece.


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