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Matt Ventre


10 Things I Learned this Winter

    1. Winter is a challenge to the creative senses

    That means my brain and mind tend to "hibernate" while it's colder and darker. I'm more inclined to be introspective, reflecting on the previous year's work, or to be working on things that are more tactical and discrete. It's more challenging to design or create things that are aggressive and daring during this time. I want to acknowledge this natural instinct, but also challenge my assumption.

    2. I Can Solve A Rubik's Cube

    I learned that you really don't just "teach yourself" to solve it and that the inventor took a month to solve it the first time he tried it after inventing it. There are formulas or "algorithms" you use to manipulate the cube and you apply them in certain ways depending on the configuration of the cube at a given time. Learn the algorithms, solve the cube. There are more advanced ways to do it which cut down on your time and number of moves to solve.

    3. Weather is what you make of it

    I used to train for marathons in NYC during the winter months. Icy sidewalks, freezing rain, sub zero wind chill over the bridges. I thought it was calm, serene, beautiful during those early morning trots. I was not afraid of the cold. I embraced it. It made me harder and more focused. "Bad" weather is a bad word. Don't tell your kids rain or snow is "bad" - it might limit your options for activities, but it's still beautiful.

    4. Light quality is important

    I had to find better lighting for the rooms I use the most during the darkest hours. I grabbed a warm LED lamp for my computer and work desk and it helped a great deal.

    5. Resist the urge to gorge and hibernate

    It makes sense that the human body, exposed to darkness and cold, would follow its mammalian instincts to gorge and build up a store of energy and fat for the winter months that have no readily available food sources. This is a part of being who we are, but it's also a trap. Many years I did the "I'll enjoy my winter and then get serious after the holidays" thing. That makes for a painful lifestyle.

    6. "Escape" is necessary at times

    But that's not a positive framing of the situation. "Escaping" something I just said was beautiful seems counterintuitive. Perhaps a better way of framing it is finding variety. The winter months can get samey and long without periods of diverse weather events and growth to break it up. It is necessary at times to seek out different environs to stimulate the mind and body.

    7. Togetherness matters

    I realize now how significant having the presence of family and friends is (at all times, but more importantly during the winter). Love and warmth crowd out the darkness and cold. It only takes one good person in your life to keep the flame alive throughout the winter time.

    8. Snowmen are fun to make again

    9. A Warm Dinner with Family is One of the Best Things in the World

    10. I Should Try Cross Country Skiing This Year

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