No Winter Blues Here

I’m not sure why I enjoy winter as much as I do. Driving on icy roads can be a royal pain, and with the way that I drive, life-threatening. I hate walking across my college campus when it’s below-freezing temperatures, and the wind cuts through me like a knife.

But every year when the snow starts falling, I can’t help getting excited.

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in Buffalo, New York, where frigid, snowy winters are a mainstay not just in the region’s climate, but our own culture. Up here, we take pride in our Viking approach to winter.

Or maybe it all has to do with Christmas. For me, it isn’t a true Christmas unless there’s snow on the ground and wearing a jacket is necessary to go outside. Seeing evergreen trees, poinsettias and festive lights without any of that fluffy white stuff is just plain weird to me.

But that wouldn’t explain why I still enjoy winter after December 25th. Because whether it’s December, January or even February, I love a good, raucous snowball fight with my friends. I love going out to the pond to play some ice hockey or simply to skate around for an afternoon; and no, heading to an indoor ice rink doesn’t cut it like going to the frozen pond does.

Heck, I went to the Buffalo Zoo the other day—when it was 38 degrees outside and we hada good four inches of snow—and I had as just as much fun I the time I visited over the summer. In fact, many of the animals seemed to prefer the chilly temperature as opposed to Buffalo’s infamous summer humidity. The River Otters and Sea Lions all went for a swim like it was no big deal, while guys like the Snow Leopard and Spectacled Bear were far more enjoyable to watch stalk through the snow than it was to see them lay around and pant back in July.

Even though it chills me to the bone no matter how much I bundle up, I feel a sense of calm when I’m outside during the winter. The early nights are one of my least favorite parts of the autumn season, but once we get snow falling here in Buffalo, the pitch-black nights become gorgeous. The snow definitely brightens the night, and sky often takes on a lavender or indigo shade that looks like it’s been painted by some artist. I often stand outside on winter nights just to take in the glistening white scenery; it helps me relax when I want to meditate or pray for a while.

Especially if there’s a light snowfall going on. Sure, blizzards are never fun to be stuck in the middle of, but when there’s a gentle dusting of snow coming down, there’s nothing more serene.

What I’m kinda getting at is that snow is just plain pretty, if I haven’t already given the hint.

Maybe one day I’ll take up skiing or snowboarding, and then the snow and cold will actually benefit me. Until then, I still have my own reasons why I enjoy winter, even if those reasons don’t make complete sense.

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Plenty To Be Thankful For

I won’t plan any of this out or rearrange things once I’m done; I’m just going to write exactly what comes to mind as I’m going through. All of this right here is why I’m so thankful for the life that I live.

I’m thankful for an incredibly loving family that supports me with everything I do in my life. My mom and dad are the best parents I could ever ask for, I have a wonderful older sister, older brother and one particular older cousin (that’s you, Al) who have always looked out for me as I’ve grown up. I have too many amazing aunts, uncles, and other older cousins to count. I love my brother-in-law, my two beautiful nieces, my grandma who’s still on this earth, and my other grandma and my two grandpas who wait for me after this life.

I’m thankful for all of the close friends I have in my life, people who mean more to me than I could ever explain; Tony, Kenny, Josh, Josiah, Lauren, Adam, Marissa, Tyshawn, Charles, Amanda, Jordan, Brianna, Lauren H., Ali, Josh M., Tony F., John, Alex, Jonathan, Corey, Kyle, Eric, Jarrett, Andy, Brian and Dave. I love them all from the bottom of my heart.

I’m thankful for so many of my friends’ family members–moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles cousins, grandparents–who I’ve grown so close with other the years that they’re just like family of my own by now.

I’m thankful for my health; that I’m able to live each and every day without pain or the fear that today may be the last. I’m thankful that I have no obstructions in living my life to the fullest and doing whatever it is that makes me happy.

I’m thankful that I have a job which allows me to pay all of the finances that I need to take care of in order to get by in life. I’m also thankful that I have a job that I enjoy as much as I do and have met so many great people at.

I’m thankful that I’ve been lucky enough to have such great education over the years, which has provided me great lessons on how to be successful in life, has allowed me to meet many of my best friends, and has allowed me the privilege of knowing so many great teachers who have passed on their wisdom to me in and out of the classroom.

I’m thankful that I have access to the many luxuries that I enjoy in life; all of the books, comics, video games, movies, tv shows, websites and sports that I use to either pass along a few fun hours, or inspire me.

I’m thankful that I have the means to express myself in my writing, my greatest passion in my life, and that I have the opportunity to make a career out of it and show who I am as a person to the rest of the world.

I’m thankful that, a little over a year ago, I didn’t make the biggest mistake of my life while I questioned just how good my life was. I’m thankful that I pulled myself out of a very miserable period, and that I eventually managed to rediscover my pride in myself, and my love for all that my life includes. I’m thankful that I’ve grown up as much as I have, have grown wiser, and learned to cherish every person and every blessing in my life.

Last and absolutely not least, I’m thankful that I have my faith in Jesus Christ, who guides me and inspires me every day to be the most loving person I can possibly be.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!