The Yellow Pages

Life's questions completely unexplained


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Eff you, February

Theme: Staying Positive

February is the rebel month. When the other months split the days of the year, February decided to be different and have 28 days instead of the typical 30 or 31. And I’m so happy it did. The reason February is the shortest month is because no one likes February.

I apologize to February babies and lovers of Punxsutawney Phil, but February has yet to prove itself as a month worthy of staying on the calendar. By the time February comes around, keeping Christmas lights up becomes embarrassing, slipping becomes expected, and the world becomes sad.

ga880208I get that I am straying from my “chronically optimistic”, “overly-friendly”, and “Yellow” view on life that is ‘The Yellow Pages’, but Providence weather is taking its toll on me. Walking to class through 3 feet of snow, nursing multiple bruises from slipping gracefully descending upon on the ice, and watching my smile muscles atrophy from lack of use—has given me a bit of the February blues.

February starts out irritating, becomes boring, and ends up depressing. But beyond its less than cheering ambiance, Febuary really isn’t that bad. During what other month is it okay to blame your bad mood on the weather? Or eat multiple boxes of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting? And during what other time of the year is it okay to write a blog titled “Eff you, February” and not be labeled as a constantly complaining currmudegon? Or even use the word curmudgeon? (February 16th is National Curmudgeon Day who knew?)

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The worst thing about February is that it challenges people to stay positive. It makes laughing after your slip a necessity, dancing in the rain (or sleet) a must, and learning to smile when maybe there isn’t much to smile about—the greatest task of all. The cold makes me jump for joy when the thermometer hits forty, the snow makes me love the sun, and the slowly passing days make me grateful for the shortest month.

I stand by my self-diagnosis of chronic optimism. It’s hard for me to stay down for very long and not even a February in Providence can change that. Instead of sporting a constantly negative mood for an entire month (28 days), I allow February to be a month of opposites. The freezing cold slush only makes the sun shine brighter. The dark, grey days make the sky even bluer. February forces me to find joy in the small nuances of the day, to stay positive even when the temperature isn’t.

I stand by my conviction that no one like February, but that doesn’t mean its not here for a reason. February gives us 28 days to test just how much we value our own happiness. It stretches our smiles and challenges our optimism. And though I won’t be sad to see the 28th come an go, I still fall short of saying eff you to February.

j

Unanswerable Question: What lessons come out of enduring winter?


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Snowy Days and Changing Ways

Theme: Dealing with situations outside our control

The night before the first day of classes, everyone waited anxiously for the university’s decision to cancel or not. Some hoped for another day of freedom while other, nerdier, people like my self—prayed for classes to be held. Regardless of what they wished for, last Tuesday night more than one Brown student was staring at the sky, hoping to control the Snow.

Years ago, the second I heard the  words “Snow” and “Philly” slip from the TV screen in a Midwestern accent, under the pillow went a spoon, inside-out and backwards went my Pj’s, and into a “Snow Dance” went me.

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Snow days used to be a dream come true. That thrill of hearing school was cancelled fueled childhood fantasies. Mornings were for snow angels, afternoons for snowmen, and evenings for that final cup of hot chocolate. Bedtime came with exhaustion and dreams and hopes of the snow never melting.

Yet it always did.

At some point the snow days turned back into school days and the White Wonderland morphed into black slush that got on your shoes as the School Bus drove by. At this point, the Snow Dance became an outdated one-hit-wonder and I would wish for Spring.

Whether my fingers were crossed for the snow to fall or melt, I was putting all my energy into something in which I had no control. I mean, I’m sure I thought those spoons under my pillow and my backwards pajamas intensified the chance of a NorEaster hitting Philly, but efforts were surely wasted.

A much cuter me (left) on my first Snow Day223276_1056660943932_3667_n

Snow does not fall nor melt on command. No crossed fingers or kitchen utensils under pillows will ever change that. I’ve learned that there are some, more like many, things in life that we have absolutely. No. Control. Over.

That’s pretty scary.

But also kinda cool.

Perhaps we are in the driver’s seat, perhaps we control the steering wheel. We may control our speed and direction, but we are powerless towards if traffic hits or cows cross the road. We can decide to yell at the radio or honk at the heifers—but we have no control beyond our own state of mind.

For me this idea is freeing. I’m handing off some of the pressure and allowing the universe a share in writing the story of my life. I now give it permission to give me road-blocks, traffic, detours, and dead ends so I can learn to breathe behind the steering wheel.

I have no control over whether the snow falls or melts. I have no control over many things in life. I am learning everyday that this is not what makes life difficult, but what makes it fun.

Snowy days reflect our changing ways. This give us the opportunity to notice how we deal with the unknown. When the TV screen announced Snow in Midwestern accent we have the choice to either deepen our worry lines—or go make a Snowman.

– j

Unanswerable Question: What would life be like if we gave up control?

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