“I feel like I’m going to puke,” that’s what I kept repeating to myself over and over the morning after. I had told myself countless times that I would never go through this again. I told myself that I was going to change my lifestyle and become a different person. A different person, with different hobbies, ones that were less narrow in scope and so self-destructive.
Winter usually does that to me.
The cold air, the slow movement, the limited visibility. It reminds me of that overwhelming feeling of nausea you get right before you decide to puke from the exploits of a night of drinking.
Sure you get to pull out your cool couture with the accompanying cold weather – military jackets, headbands, heavy boots, sweaters, and peat coats. But how long does that tide you over, before you realize you are in this for the long haul, that warmth and light aren’t coming back any time soon? How long before you realize it’s game over!
I can only blame myself. I don’t know enough about my hometown and as soon as the winter hits, I want to bundle up with a blanket and a dozen or two movies that I’ve just picked up after the Black Friday madness, and settle in for a long winter filled with craft beer and a carved beard. And not much else.
I’m not the only one who feels this way right? Edmonton sucks! Alberta is the worst! There is nothing to do here in the winter! Stupid trading post should’ve never took off and brought settlement along with it. People have a right to their warmth and freedom.
Wait, hold up a second!
I’m kidding, I hope you realize. Mostly kidding anyway.
Edmonton doesn’t suck at all. We truly are a festival city and there are a ton of things to do festival-wise or other in the winter. You just have to change your mindset, get out of your well-worn comfort zone, and expose yourself to new events and good people who host them.
And don’t worry, I’m gonna list a bunch of ideas off, in the hope that some will stick like wet snow, and you find something to do with your time this season, other than couch surfing.
It couldn’t be more timely, but here is the list of typical winter activities you can take up, and how!
- Get outside and explore our river valley and our parks. And either build a snowman and/or snow fort, have a snowball fight, go sledding, catch some snow flakes on your tongue, or collect some pine cones
- Visit a craft show for inspiration and then make some cool ornaments from stuff in nature and/or craft supplies. Or maybe buy some paper and make snowflakes and then leave them throughout the city. Post some photos and share them on instagram #yegwinterart might be a good tag
- Jump on zomato.com and try out a local eatery or bar/lounge which is new to YOU. It doesn’t have to be new to everyone, just to you.
- Pick up a copy of VueWeekly, Avenue, The Gateway, Edmonton Examiner, Journal, SUN or whatever and go and see something local made (a film, an art opening, a band, a lecture series). I’m not 100% how to get a copy of this online, but I’ll eventually link to some pictures from my hard copy for ease of use. Vueweekly publishes a Winter Guide every year and it covers November-February for a lot of cool events.
- Read some of the long lost books you’ve shelved. Grab your flannel PJs, a nice blanket, some slippers, and some hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps OR eggnog OR champagne OR hot buttered rum OR mulled wine OR spiced cider. Visit the Reuse Centre, Value Village, Wee Book Inn if you want inexpensive gently used books.
- Join a winter sport. Whether it’s ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice sculpture or hiking. What about something more exotic like winter camping, winter cycling and climbing? You could also join a gym or take up swimming too.
- Take a day trip and tour a winery, brewery or distillery to learn about the process and have a fun adventure with your loved one and/or friends. That way you are supporting local business and getting to know areas of the city or the countryside which you probably never knew existed.
- Go and experience a different side of life by volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating food/toys/clothing to a local charity. You can clean out your house and help someone else in need at the same time. You could even learn how to make food and preserve it, effectively providing home-made gifts to people who don’t have the means to do so.
The best thing about a list like this is that it is totally up to you to decide what to do with it. Take responsibility for your life and try something scary this winter season! Don’t spend another 4 months of your life complaining about how boring this time of year is.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed by the options I’ve presented, don’t fret, dear readers. You can pick a few choice examples and try them out. One. At. A. Time. Because we can only form new habits if we stick to them for 30 days or more. Just kidding, it’s more complex than that. But 30 days is a good start. This is a topic which I want to cover more in the future, but here is an article to give you a taste for now. But that’s just a theory.
What do you think? Am I suffering from hypothermia? Leave some comments, and let me know how you get through the winter.