December: The Merriest and Most Lethargic Month

I don't know since when I've fallen in love with December... but, hey, who doesn't love it? 'Tis the season, the jolliest and merriest month of the year! Even way back then, when I had always spent the month in a tropical climate and didn't have the slightest idea what kind of magic December could bring, I got excited whenever the month came. Don't even ask me how I feel about December today, especially after experiencing some of the most magical December(s) in my life. The excitement is still going strong! Christmas markets with the smell of warm apple pie and cinnamon linger in the air. Impressive fairy decorations in every front store, hotel lobby to city plaza. Festive music plays in every possible store. The first snowfall that gently falls on the street and looks like sugar falling on a gray cookie. A stream of smoke swirls upward from the chimney of a decent brown brick house. And perhaps, seeing the thick snow-covered roofs of wooden houses.

However, somehow, somewhere deep down inside my highly sensitive self, all those magical things also cause particular uneasiness. I think the mixed feelings are just inevitable. There is something about the year's end that induces a taking of stock (and yes, I'm talking about those self-evaluation and new year resolution checklists) that can certainly lead in turn to melancholy. Not to mention the best and worst moments of this year have flashed through my mind quite often these days but I immediately chased those images away. It's not the time to make a contemplative post, isn't it?

The other thing is the nature of Christmas itself where most people spend their time together with family and closest people. It's exactly the same thing as spending the last week of Ramadhan and celebrating Eid Fitr far away from my family that I can't help but feeling homesick. To be frank, I've always been anxious whenever the winter break is coming. The thought of how, where, and with whom I will spend the whole two weeks of the holiday has undoubtedly frightened me every year. I'm glad that despite my fear of having lonely winter breaks, they have been well spent. In the first year, I spent the holiday by staying in Rotterdam with my friends, had a Christmas dinner together in  Brussels (although none of us religiously celebrating it), and suddenly the winter break was over. Time was passing faster than I thought! The second year was even better where I made one of the best decisions in my life: solo travel to Scandinavia in winter. While this year my parents are coming to Europe so I'm going to spend my winter break with them.

The last and the most logical reason for this uneasy feeling is actually none other than the season itself. And this one has been scientifically proven. The infamous SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), also known as winter blues/winter depression. Before living in a four season country and being forced to face winter for a few months, I used to love the season. A lot. For me, the bone-chilling temperature brought happiness more than pain. The gloomy, foggy, and grey sky were dramatic. At the same time, it oddly reminiscing some particular moments from my childhood imagination. Now, even with the daylight saving has been going on since last week of October, I continuously find myself complaining about it until now. The idea of the daylight saving just doesn't make any sense to me. They said it aims to save energy consumption during the summer and encourages people to be more productive by doing outdoor activities as the sun is still up until 9.30 pm. Did they consider its impact during winter, when the dusk comes earlier and it's already dark outside at 4.30 pm? Does it mean more energy is used during the time? Besides, the short daylight only makes people less productive, while at the same time the SAD gets real by witnessing the night stays longer.

And today, like a typical wintry day, I've woken up countless times with an unsurprising gloomy sky but at least without rain and wind that was hitting the Dutch land in the past couple of weeks. Oh, well, well, well, apparently December is not only the merriest time of year but also the most lethargic month. I just don't feel like doing anything but crawling under my warm duvet, either to drift off to sleep or read one of the unfinished books or grab my laptop to rewatch the entire seasons of How I Met Your Mother. It seems like (Mariah Carey playing in the background) all I want for Christmas is hibernation, so (now switching to Green Day) please wake me up when the Winter ends.


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