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California, New Zealand. Two passports, two homelands. And detours.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Operation Happiness: 9 things getting me through the winter


Not my finest season.

Happiness may only be a dog sunning itself on a rock. But I want it. And usually, and thankfully - very, very thankfully - nothing stands between me and unearned joy, peace, tenderness for the world, etc in spring, summer and autumn.

But winter. Winter, I'm a drooping flower. Anxious about everything. Restless, lonely, sun-starved. Overly navel-gazey, competitive. Sullen...

Augmenting the usual S.A.D. sack blast is a 360 life change for me in the last six weeks. Its a very wanted and positive change, but its a move from sun and wildernesses to a cold, light-less city and a job where I'm writing again, but it also requires me to act smarter then I am, and be a pain in the ass.

This is draining for a people-pleaser.

I spend a lot of time on the phone at a desk that is saturated in yellow post-it notes, on the fourth story of a grey building, which looks out to a clock on another grey building, and a grey sky above all of this, trying to compose hard-hitting questions on subjects I've had about 53 seconds to make myself all-knowing on (it's not always like that but on some days it feels that way).

This time last year, for a reference point, I was coming back from a cycling trip around Prince Edward Island with Angie Kelly, the wind and rain on our faces, sand in toes, blueberries and cheese for dinner, feeling lovely and alive and grateful...

Winter...ai, ai, ai....

My happy list so far: stormy walks on Oreti beach, weekend trips getting OUT of the city, Jo Seagar cooking school's apple cake, baked in the morning, so the whole house smells like cinnamon; late afternoon sunlight on the floor, my french press; waking up buried under duvets to see birthday flowers and sunglasses for when I need them, and I will, there will be light again; and Fleurs Place, my favourite restaurant in the world at Moeraki. Its like an old lighthouse with stained glass windows and fish that's come right off the boats and everything comes on these old plates, like something out of your nana's cupboard. As for the eharmony video: my flatmate downloaded for me after he came home one night to find me on the lawn, headlamp on, trying to coax a stray cat into our gargage with a chicken drumstick. I keep it as a cautionary tale.

And when all else fails to raise the spirits...

Bad boys in suits. It's my guilty pleasure winter thing.

So fun to watch them misbehave (from a distance)

Don Draper's best quote from clie on Vimeo.


  1. I remember hating the Winters where I grew up. It always seemed gray and WET. More wet than the rest of the year. I hated the way my clothes always felt sticky all year round, and how it always felt like we were swimming through the air. The Summers were stifling. It was such an effort to breathe. Of course you get used to those things if you stay in an area long enough. Then I moved to a place that was completely different. I don't know if it was the thrill of a new place or the qualities of that place that I loved, but there were great times there. I remember great times there. There is where I fell in love with Winter. I became a "Winter person." Nowadays, not so much. The Winters here remind me of the place where I grew up. Fortunately, I can have a taste of the "good Winter" with just a little time and effort about an hour and a half away. Stay strong, Gwyneth. When you get through this Winter you'll be down for your next journey.

  2. I knoooooow..its just that spring feels so far away.That's quite a lovely piece of writing there ~

  3. P.S.

    The eHarmony video is frighteningly hilarious. I kept laughing that laugh when you're kind of scared in the middle of a conversation with someone your not sure is all there. Apple and cinnamon has to be the best combination of smells in the world.