The November Blahs…
Every year when November rolls around and the days get shorter, I begin to feel the seasonal blahs seep into my bones. To be clear, my symptoms are not so severe as to fall into the spectrum of Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) and normally clear up as my body adjusts to its new reality. This year has been different though, I haven’t been able to shake them as quickly as in the past.
As the brilliant colours of early fall begin to fade, the lack of natural sunlight and the monotony of a monotone world begin to set in. I start to feel sluggish and well quite honestly just blah. This is part of my normal adjustment to the coming winter. The shorter days and longer nights coupled with the waning intensity of our sun messing with my natural vitamin D production is always the biggest contributor. Normally as the calendar turns from November to December I’ve adjusted, life gets colder but it goes on just fine. So what is different this year.
Could it be the relatively dreary start to December? It seems to me even the little sunlight we get at this time of year has been almost exclusively blotted out behind a veil of thick cloud cover, with rain and more snow than I can remember seeing this early in the season. I have had to shovel out at least four times already this year when we would normally see three or four storms a year.
Then there is returning to in-person work. Two plus years of COVID have allowed for work at home and while it was an adjustment at first, as with everything you settle into a routine and returning to the office has certainly upset the apple cart. It doesn’t help that my doctor wanted me to remain at home until Spring to avoid a COVID/flu season that had the potential to be volatile. I take an immune suppressant to help control an auto-immune disorder I was diagnosed with about 30 years ago. That increases my risk factors for a bad COVID outcome exponentially. A fact my employer seems to have disregarded with all the staff who have been working from home. To be fair they have found a place for me to work in relative, but not complete, isolation and given me a workload that allows me to avoid interaction with the public or large groups of staff. That said, the truth is the work I’ve been assigned could easily be done at home as per my doctor’s recommendation.
Another factor in returning to work is the length it adds to the day. The commute is over an hour each way turning a ten hour day into a 12 to 13 hour day. It feels like I get home in time to sleep and then get up and do it all over again.
Then there is the economy, inflation, and the housing market. Right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic our landlord decided to evict us. A story for another day but it sent us out looking for a new place in the hottest real estate market in let’s just say forever. Buying a home at or near the peak of a seller’s market is not ideal, but a mortgage was cheaper by almost $800 a month over renting which was even crazier than buying. The problem is the government decided to pump an endless supply of COVID money into the economy without any regard for fiscal responsibility and the result has been runaway inflation. Of course, the only resolution to inflation has been to jack interest rates at an irresponsible pace while not considering other options at their disposal. Now I sit in a house where the mortgage is bigger than the value of the property. Thank God I locked in for five years, now I just hope that rates normalize and the market recovers before I have to renew.
Then there is the asshole troll running Russia. A paranoid fear of the West and his personal desire to turn back the clock to the glory days of the USSR when his Mother Russia was relevant, or at least a time when he feels he was relevant. Part of me believes that the West needed to act earlier and more decisively. Instead the West and the Superpower at its head, America’s best move was to set an arms dealer known as the Merchant of Death free for a basketball player. I don’t believe she should have been in jail for the infraction she committed but it’s not my place, or hers, to decide what the laws of another nation should be. She put herself in that situation and because of those reckless actions the Merchant of Death can sparks up his old relationships to help Putin get his hands on much needed weaponry for his fight in Ukraine. The best our basketball star could do is throw basketballs at the enemy. Imagine if that prisoner swap turns out to be a turning point in a war between a tinpot dictator trying to revive the glory days and a Western alliance with no resolve to wage war. Anyone who believes this war is between Russia and Ukraine is mistaken. Either way, it is a mess that could have been cleaned up and taken out with the trash months ago.
On a broader scale, there is China. A communist superpower watching our every move. Exploiting our weaknesses at every turn. Undermining our democratically elected government while most of us can’t even be bothered to vote. Too busy taking dancing selfies of ourselves and posting them to Tik Tok, the one platform our western government security agencies have been signalling the alarm about because of its ties to Beijing.
Meanwhile, our governments run around apologizing for every perceived wrong of our ancestors. There are some dark moments in every nation’s history but it is wrong to judge our entire history through today’s social lens. If we do, those who built our great democracies, our forefathers, and our heroes will all be erased. We are quick to rename schools, community centers, public awards, etc… For none can live up to the standards we have achieved over time. We need to celebrate those leaders who came before us for pushing the pendulum forward in increments over time.
An example of the politically correct cancel culture craziness that has gripped our society can be demonstrated in a brand of potato chips Walmart sells in store here. I overheard several colleagues railing against the retail giant for perceived culture appropriation infractions. You see the chips on the shelf are branded Tomahawk Potato Chips. The automatic reaction is to be outraged, make incorrect assumptions without doing one iota of research and then spread those untruths to anyone who will listen. Believe me, there are plenty of people willing to listen and continue spreading lies about the perceived slight.
Unfortunately, none of it is true. I know because I conducted an internet search that took under a minute to complete and revealed that the brand was created and marketed by an indigenous entrepreneur. The product was being produced in a facility on local reservation land and employed a primarily indigenous workforce. Turns out the company had won a well-deserved contract with Walmart to sell their products in store. A shining example of success and ingenuity that unfortunately didn’t fit the narrative that some would rather push.
I didn’t even touch on Climate change but I will stop here. Christmas is almost upon us and I’m hoping this rant helps in some small way to ease this year’s extended November blahs. If not, I will be waiting for spring and that first day when the sun has moved back close enough to the equator, usually in or about mid-March, that I can feel my skin soaking up its rays like a parched man lapping up water at an oasis in the desert. As for the world’s other problems, I will try to do my part in my small corner of the globe, hope those with more power and influence, choose to do the right thing and that cooler heads prevail, allowing us to all prosper and get along with each other.
As for my blog, well I’ve been neglectful this week, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. Not sure if that is a promise or a threat… 🤣
Frozen Pines image was captured on December 2013, in Milton, Ontario.
Equipment: Canon EOS 60D, EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6.8 IS.
Settings: 135mm | 1/250 sec. at ƒ/5.6 | ISO500.
Additional processing via Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop.
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