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viewpoint

Winter reflections

| Friday, November 30, 2018

“Man, this weather is so nice for November.”

I wasn’t talking about South Bend, Indiana. Not a chance. Rather, I was in Los Angeles this past weekend covering the game for The Observer, and let me tell you the weather was gorgeous. Highs in the upper 60s with a slight ocean breeze, sun shining overhead as a few white clouds drifted lazily around, with palm trees like sentinels bathing in the glow of a California early evening. I soaked in every moment of it. For the time of year, it was almost paradise.

Then I had to return to South Bend.

I hopped off the plane from LAX and was blasted by the cold Chicago air. After driving back to South Bend, I realized that the weather was even worse here. Bitterly cold, with wet snow and howling winds? Take me back to Cali!

Now, don’t get me wrong: I actually love South Bend. The place where I was born and raised. The 574. It’s home, and will always be home for me in a sense.

But man, this weather can just get you down in all sorts of ways.

It’s not just the physical aspect that’s potentially harmful. In a much deeper sense, it’s the psychological impact that this weather can have. Seasonal depression is a real thing, and having grown up in South Bend all my life, I can tell you for a fact that the changing of the seasons have a profound impact on one’s mood and overall energy.

Winter is coming. In many respects, it’s already here. Should we be resigned to the fact that winter is uncomfortable and harsh — counting the days until it’s warm and pleasant outside?

I mean, yeah, in a way — but we should also realize that winter and struggling through our walks throughout campus in the cold and wet and windy conditions actually have value for how we view life.

I could throw any quotation at you about how life will constantly throw obstacles and challenges at us, and how it all comes down to how we react to it and move past it. That’s what winter is: a challenge. Life is not easy and is oftentimes inconvenient this time of year. You’re running late and you find your car completely covered in a sheet of snow and ice. It’s a bit of a gut-check moment: How am I going to respond? In certain instances, it forces you to be creative (a food clip works surprisingly well for clearing snow).

However, winter teaches us a lot more things than being resilient.

It forces us to spend more quality time in our communities as the weather rages on outside.

It teaches us to appreciate the good things we once took for granted, and causes us to hope for them again.

Even this weather doesn’t feel that bad compared to not feeling my toes at 10,000-foot elevation and five-degree temperatures while camping this fall break in Colorado. Five of us packed ourselves into a two-man tent for warmth and to avoid frostbite. The cold brings people together, simple as that.

And yet, on a more profound level, I honestly don’t know what it’s like to be truly cold. I’ve never been homeless during a winter in South Bend. I can’t imagine what that kind of cold feels like. I count my blessings that I’m able to return to my heated dormitory every day — that there is always warmth at the end of the cold.

At the end of this column, I’m not sure exactly what I’m writing about. Perhaps you’re reading this with even more coldness than the cold I’m describing. I wouldn’t hold it against you.

But at the end of the day, there are lessons we can learn from living in the cold. And perhaps on your next freezing trip across campus, you’ll be slightly enflamed by them.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

Contact Joe