The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Growing up in Alabama, I always craved snowy, chilly winters. I wanted to experience white Christmases and bundle up in cozy sweaters and colorful scarves. Instead, a sweatshirt was the appropriate winter wear where I lived, and I experienced dismal, brown holidays every year. I have always absolutely loved winter, with its brisk wind and rosy cheeks and bright lights strewn up along the city streets.
But one thing that I didn’t know about New England winters until I arrived here last year was just how dark they get —how the sunlight seems to slip away before you even get a chance to bask in it. I also wasn’t quite prepared for how long the winters last. Come March in Alabama, it’s 75 degrees and almost humid again. But here in Boston, the winter seemed to drag on and on, with chilly breezes even in May and the long, dark nights extending well into the spring.
This definitely took some time to adjust to. Sometimes on yet another long trek to class with wet, grey slush soaking through my shoes, I would almost wish to be back in the South. And undoubtedly the hardest part for me was those long nights. In the winter, it felt like the whole day just got sucked up by the cold darkness of nighttime.
But with time, and especially now reflecting on that first winter and preparing for this upcoming one, I find that I almost love the longevity and darkness of Boston winters. I have always been someone who works better at night, who prefers studying with a warm-toned lamp instead of the bright spotlight of the sun. I feel like I can concentrate better when the world outside is a little quieter and darker; everything feels almost a bit muffled during a snowy night. It’s like I’m working inside of a quilt or a cotton ball.
Recently, I have read quite a bit about the Danish concept of hygge, an amalgamation of togetherness, comfort, and coziness, which is a feeling that is most closely associated with winter. I have been attempting to incorporate hygge and bring light and joy into my winters by investing in cute cold-weather clothes, spending quality, cozy time with my family and friends, and enjoying traditional autumn and winter foods like hot chocolate or warm soups. These methods have allowed me to appreciate winter for what it is (dark and cold) instead of just considering it a buffer season between autumn and spring.
I have also always felt like time moves differently in the winter. I would look at the clock and the time would be hours earlier than what I would’ve expected. This used to bother me since I felt disconnected and confused by the resounding darkness at 5 p.m. and just wished it could stay sunny, like in the summer. But I now look at this phenomenon a lot more positively; it is almost a gift to look outside at the pitch-black sky, assume that it is 9 or 10 p.m., and then realize that it’s only 6:00 p.m. and that you have so much more time in the night to hang out with friends or get work done.
Allowing my perspective to shift and making small changes in how I perceive and appreciate the winter has made all the difference for me. Now, I try to enjoy all the fun, unique aspects of winter that will inevitably fade away as spring arrives. Seasons are fluid and temporary, so I find it important to bask in the chill of winter, the rains of spring, the heat of summer, and the soft glow of fall in equal measures.