Winter – It’s Not That Bad

It’s still cold, but we all survived the mutant cold front and are stronger people for it.

I’m not going to lie – there will be cold fronts ahead and days where we all can’t feel our fingers and our cars won’t start in protest of the icy weather, but winter is really not that bad.

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A representation of what happens in a cold front. I have no idea what it means.

The solstice has passed. That Pagans have partied. That means the days will get longer, the sun will warm us for a few moments longer each and every day moving forward. And even the most hardened night-owl will admit that the sun isn’t a half bad thing to have floating around in our solar system. And just think about that extra vitamin D you’ll be getting. This has various health benefits I honestly can’t be bothered to get into right now.

I'm feeling warmer already

We have passed winters peak and summer is on its way. Spring is around the corner, and everyone loves spring. So hang in there, and if you can’t, well, winter is not entirely terrible.

Just think about hot chocolate… Go get some, and then continue to read. It’s good, isn’t it? It’s making you feel warm right now. And it’s yummy.

Hmmmm

Winter means it’s okay to pick up a bit of weight. And this is natural and good, don’t fight it. Your body needs a bit of extra padding to survive. So there is less than zero reason to panic because of a few extra rolls. No one is going to make love above the covers for a while still, and if you have half a brain, you’re wearing enough clothing to hide the winter flab when you aren’t getting frisky.

In winter you get to enjoy soup. Soup is great and you can have it at any point in the year. But if you think about it for a few seconds, it’s not nearly as satisfying as when you have it in summer. Throw in a tasty slice of ciabatta or rye bread and you’ve got a healthy meal that not only warms your body, but is yummy too.

It's never the same in summer

Don’t even get me started on stews, casseroles and pasta bakes… These taste so much better when it’s freezing outside. So enjoy your food, go wild, eat chocolate… Being chunky can be solved by reading Cosmo or Women’s Health next month. They will have you bikini ready before you can say September.

If you aren’t working in education and are still doing the whole 9 to 5 thing, getting up is an achievement every single day. Getting out of the shower is about as fun as chewing on sandpaper, but if you have half a brain, your clothes are warming near the heater. So get smart and stop whining.

Getting into bed at the end of the day is now better than ever. And two days of every week you get to lie in and enjoy the toasty cosiness. Is there anything better? Yes, probably, but on those days there aren’t. And while you work, you have warm and lazy mornings to look forward to for an entire week. This is awesome, admit it.

And then there are movies in bed. It gets even better, because reading in bed becomes a refuge, something you look forward to because it’s warm and stimulating.

When it’s cold and no clients are hanging around your office, it’s okay to wear a blanket at your desk. This not only endears you to your colleagues (themed blankets even more so), but makes you feel like a Mexican. When you get over wanting Tequila, you get to experience a tiny part of a different culture. If you’re really brave, wear the blanket around your clients. They will probably admire your attitude and sensibility meaning more business in the long run.

Go get one

If all of the above are not enough for you, think about the balmy winter afternoons that we so often experience in South Africa. Don’t take them for granted. Go for a walk – you won’t sweat profusely. Lie in the sun – you won’t get sunburnt. For me, there is nothing nicer than being outside on a mild winter day. There are more of them than you realise too. You’re just too caught up feeling sorry for yourself to take advantage.

Every single snow flake is unique - and that is pretty impressive

Winter also means there is the chance of snow. In South Africa, snow is cool (until you play in it – then it’s just wet and cold). But snow is pretty, and filled with nitrogen or something, which is great for plants growing in spring. That means your steak will taste better and your soy products will have higher nutritional value. So winter is the foundation of happy dining in summer.

Snow = Better steak in summer

I don’t love winter. I just don’t mind it that much. And I’m done complaining and whining about how I have frostbite (no one believes me anyway). But being a human is about looking and moving forward. And that’s what we’re doing.

And in a few months we’ll be moaning about heat. And I’ll have something else to write about.

After winter comes spring and blossoms and hay fever.
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Winter – It’s Not That Bad

The Young Professional

So, I work. I’m a young professional at the cusp of my career… And while I never thought I would do what I am doing, I love it and it’s taking over my life.

It's either or...

A day in my life starts with my alarm going off and me hitting snooze for about half an hour. But, reader, it’s cold out there and R50.00 excluding VAT says you are doing the same. Then it’s coffee, shower and off to the office for that hour and a half of silence and concentration before business officially opens (I have had phone calls at 07:30 though). And then the flood gates open and I’m rushed off my feet for the next eight hours. Then I hang around for another half hour or so, because, well, your business is important to me, and I will get you what you want.

Dear coffee: Thank You!

Like many of my peers and colleagues, I don’t take lunch. I eat at my desk, and I take calls with my mouth full. It’s a good thing people like to talk, or else I would never get the chance to chew. I have become a master of multitasking, and can type up an e-mail completely unrelated to the phone call I stupidly took. So, in case you were wondering, I’m fine, thanks, and it’s freaking great that your Bulldog is okay after her operation. And I’ll send you that document in… hey, what do you know, it’s on its way right now. Do you have it? Great, goodbye.

Dear phone: I hate you!

Once I get home, I need to eat again. That means dinner for one, or sometimes dinner for five – because leftovers are great to take with the next day and eating the same thing two days in a row is a serious time saver.

Unlike other single, working people, I actually cook for myself. And not just two-minute noodles (I lost interest in those in the first three months of university), I’m talking about minimum two vegetables and some protein. Or pizza. I don’t do microwave dinners, I’m not paying money for something that smells like a wet dog when it’s ‘ready’, that is packed with sodium and is mostly made out of recycled cardboard and dye. Over the years I have become a decent cook, I have made amazing things with whatever is in the kitchen, and I’ve had some failures that have resulted in me needing to throw pots away. But 90% of the time, I’m eating okay and keeping those energy levels up for the next day.

Thank you for your interest in my body, but I'm taking my nutritional needs elsewhere

I will then collapse into bed, with a book I’m too tired to focus on and read the same chapter three times before deciding it’s late and going to sleep.

Sometimes, I will have work functions. And these will drag on well past my bed time and I’ll watch people drink heavily and network with them, even though they will never remember who I actually am.

Sometimes, I can take a friend to work functions. These go on until the early hours of the morning too, but at least I have decent conversation that extends beyond soccer and weather (honestly, is there NOTHING else to chat about?).

And that is how I spend my evenings.

Catching Z's is awesome

Some of my friends are married, living with their lovers or in serious relationships. And I need to know – how do they do it?

I barely have time for myself, but these guys are making time for another (every single day), getting their laundry done and producing meals that put mine to shame. They stay happy and connected, sometimes nauseatingly so, and I’m proud of them – high five, guys, you have superior time management skills! I currently don’t even have the time to date.

Before I blink again, it’s Friday and then I blink again and it’s Monday.

So, sure, I spend a large chunk of my weekends working. And sure, I’m really busy all the time. But that’s what it’s like being a working person. Relationships get neglected and recreation becomes a thing of the past.

One thing I do know is that I am luckier than most.

I love my job. I have a passion for my industry. A lot of people my age are miserable in their careers and desperate for something new – but it’s tough times for business, so they stick it out and become increasingly miserable. But not me, my exhaustion and routine make me happy.

And that is the life of this young professional in 750 words!

The Young Professional