January wasn't bad necessarily, but it was heavy.
The first month of the year has long been my least favorite month. Maybe because it's cold and dreary, though in Montana, skies stay blue more days than not. Maybe it's coming down from the holiday high or realizing just how much you have to accomplish in the coming year.
This January solidified its place in my month rankings.
What makes it harder, is my beat has been thrust into the national spotlight and I'm legitimately competing with the Pentagon press corps. It's a pace I'm used to after living in D.C., but it's still a bizarre feeling to have the national attention turn to the place you write about every day.
+ The whole situation has reminded me how hard work matters, how knowing the subject you write about and treating those people with respect all the time pays huge dividends when things go sideways.
Winter itself is constant struggle for me. I finally ordered snow boots and have somewhat adjusted to the cold, but driving through the snow and sheets of ice that covered our roads the last week sends me into high stress mode. I've walked into the house actually sharing from the stress and fear that I'm going to slide off the road into a ditch or frozen river and lose my wits. As much as I want to go home at the end of what have been long and exhausting work days, I get to the car and dread the 15 or so miles of road.
+ Be patient with yourself. I am not, by any means, an awesome winter driver, but I've improved over the last year. M tells me not to worry, it's all fine, but I have come to a place where I can recognize my fear, accept it and determine whether it's the kind of fear to power through or the kind of fear to take seriously and make M pick me up (something I have not yet had to do, but I'm not above it). I have always been the girl to mind over matter my way through things, even when it might have been a tad reckless, in retrospect, but winter in Montana is teaching me that nature always wins. Just accept it.
And there was loss. My uncle and a dear friend. That's life I suppose and though I cried more than I care to admit these last few weeks, those kinds of losses always remind you just how precious life is and to cherish those you love.
Though January is still my least favorite month and was so heavy, there were great moments too.
Projects are in motion, I was asked out of the blue to do a freelance assignment for my favorite travel magazine, chickens are coming soon, seed starting and garden prep is underway and the closet purge has begun in earnest. I started running again and working out focused on strengthening my skating legs and prepping for a jog through Chi-town with Alicia and Eileen.
+ Even when life is heavy, keep going. Excellence is a habit that can be cultivated during the good times and the mediocre times to get you through the hard times. This month was hard for me, but in all honestly, I have a great life and was dealt a card no harder than a stranger I might pass on the street. Accept the bad things, allow yourself a good cry and steer yourself back toward all the good things in life.
Knowing that January is never my favorite helps me get through since I already know it always gets better. The month was blow after blow, but I'm still here and it's February now. When all else fails, laugh whenever possible and just breathe.
I always love hearing from you and though I'm behind on responding to comments, your kind words, encouragement and support these past few weeks meant more than I can say.
Do you suffer the winter blues? How do you beat them?