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Happy New Year

GAYS MILLS - I’m usually a fairly happy-go-lucky kind of guy. But lately I’m starting to wonder if I might have a touch of S.A.D.  Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s a real thing and this is the season when it shows up. It’s a form of depression brought on by short days and long nights and is more common the further north you go.  

People living closer to the equator have probably never heard of S.A.D. People living in the Scandinavian countries often have a real problem with S.A.D. So here between the 43rd and 44th parallels, not quite halfway between the equator and the north pole, things could be worse, eh? Or better.

Points to ponder:  Are people who live near the equator happy all the time, with no seasonal daylight dip? How many more total daylight hours does an equator dweller get in a calendar year than we’uns? Is there an opposite mental problem (unaccounted for jubilation) for people during the long days and short nights of summer? Do some folks actually get a summer depression? The answer to that last question is, surprisingly, yes.

Anyway, along about now I start looking for signs of light.  We passed the official shortest day of the year (eight hours and 59 minutes) on December 22. Thanks to a handy day length chart, I found that on January 31 our day will be nine hours and 55 minutes long, as compared to nine hours and four minutes on New Years Day. On many days in January, we will gain two minutes of daylight.

On the flip side of this changing daylight schedule, we enjoy 15 hours and 22 minutes of daylight “Along about knee deep in June” as James Whitcomb Riley would describe it: June 17 through the 23, all maximum daylight days.

This is the time of year when it’s logical to reflect back on the year past. They say there are three kinds people: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that wonder what happened. Without doubt you’d have to admit that lots of unusual big things happened in ‘17, most of them due to the actions of a few key people. No names listed or need to be.   Most of us have watched the daily, sometimes hourly news as it has unfolded. I have both watched what happened and wondered what happened. 

It’s also a time for resolutions for the new year. Resolutions are an attempt to make things happen in your life. Resolutions are personal and a pledge to yourself for the future. It’s a good thing to be able to spout off a resolution or two if you are asked.  But deep down, a personal resolution is just that, personal and private. So here is one of mine: ______________________________________________. 

A good resolution, or goal, should be simple, clear, and measurable.  In other words, “I’m going to exercise more next year” is not a good resolution. However, “I’m going to walk 30 minutes and do 100 reps of some  kind every day” is a resolution that might be kept.

Perhaps, I’m just tired of the current cold snap, a simple case of winter blues. I feel my outlook brightening every day as each day gets longer.

Happy New Year!