Dear Reader for Feb. 26, 2009

I have never, ever, ever been more ready for Spring.

Now I know this is an annual lament for me, but, this time, it is more true than it has ever been. Matter-of-fact, if Spring doesn’t get here soon, I may decide to hibernate and never come out!

I’ve never been a winter person. I love the holidays and acknowledge that they make winter more bearable, but, basically, I just don’t care for the winter months. Except for Christmas and the occasional snow, nothing much worth writing home about happens in December, January and February.

Even in Tennessee, winter is cold and dreary and gray. It’s solitary, which isn’t something I deal with very well. Surround me with people and laughter and good times, even if that setting is at the office, and I’m a happy person. Gloomy days where you don’t even lift your head up on the way to the car are depressing.

Most years, however, I have a “cope with it” attitude and choose to be happy even when the weather and winter don’t cooperate.

But this year? Oh, man, winter just needs to go away and take all the gloom and bad news and stinky economy with it.

I think I may have figured out a secret. I probably need to whisper it in President Obama’s ear, so he doesn’t get discouraged just yet, because I really think I have the answer.

I have come to the substantiated conclusion that Old Man Winter of 2009 has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

I know you’ve heard of SAD. It’s the new buzz word disease, and the experts swear it is a real as PMS, which is pretty darn real in my house. SAD is a winter depression, a “mood disorder” according to Wikipedia. People have normal mental health during most of the year and then, wham, winter hits and it’s major depression. There are unexplained mood changes and mood swings, a desire to follow the sun and serious anxiety.

When you look up Winter SAD, the symptoms are also things like oversleeping, loss of energy, weight gain and hopelessness. (There’s a Summer SAD, too, with symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss, so let’s just leave summer alone.)

There are treatments for SAD, everything ranging from light therapies to anti-depression medication, ionized-air and even hormones.

Those are fine for human SAD victims, but I think Old Man Winter needs my mother’s version of medical attention. Mother was a warm, loving person, but there were times she felt it was time to throw coddling away and give you a serious a kick in the pants.

That’s what Winter needs: A kick in the pants to just move it on out of here and make way for East Tennessee’s beautiful, warming, positive Spring. Enough is enough, and I’ve had enough of winter’s SAD.

Is it naïve to think that the best stimulus package we can embrace is a new beginning, a warming to the positive things about our world and a shock of new growth and color on the horizon? I don’t think so, but, then, I’m a cheerleader. Unfortunately, lately I’ve been a cheerleader with SAD, and it’s just been too darn confusing.

So here’s to the end of February and the beginning of March. Let it come in like a lion, bringing a roar of positive energy, bright days and new hope. I think we collectively can kick this Seasonal Affective Disorder and send Winter and all the negativity packing.

As they say around the campfire: “Pass it on…”

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