Emotional Stages Of Spring When You're Still Cold

This year, March 20 marked the vernal equinox—in other words, it was recently officially the first day of spring. But if spring started almost a whole week ago, then why, oh why, am I still surrounded by snow? Shouldn’t I be frolicking through the daffodils, feeling the sun on my face and wearing adorable, breezy skirts? Why am I still trudging through ice and slush everyday in my singularly unattractive fur-lined snow boots? Why am I looking at a weather forecast that still boasts sub-freezing temperatures almost everyday this week? Spring may have officially started, but it certainly hasn’t sprung for all of us. As American author Henry Van Dyke sagely points out, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.” A month? Dear God, I hope not.

This has been a brutal winter, and we can all take comfort in the fact that it won’t last forever—even if sometimes it really feels that way. But for those of you still desperately waiting for the thaw, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. If you live in a cold climate and spring still seems a million miles away, you may recognize this emotional journey. Believe me, I feel your pain.

1. Excitement

The barest hint of spring—a slight lift in temperature from “Oh God, humans were not meant to survive this” to “still pretty freaking cold”—has you going through the roof with excitement. Sure, it’s only 20 degrees outside, but that’s about 20 degrees higher than the whole month of February. Spring is heeerrrre! (Spoiler: Spring is not here.)

2. Overconfidence

You’re so excited about the end of the terrible winter that you throw off your parka and snow boots and dare to venture outside wearing normal clothes for the first time in four months. This is a mistake. It’s still well below freezing outside—hell, it’s actually snowing—and you realize that all that spring stuff was a ruse. Winter is still well and kicking, and you are freezing.

3. Bitterness

Now that you’ve realized you’re still stuck in a winter hellscape, you become really angry about the way everyone else in the country seems to be enjoying the happiest springtime ever. Magazines and blogs are full of images of flowers and people having picnics and exciting new spring fashions, and you are pissed.

4. Bargaining

You try to bargain with Mother Nature: if she’ll just let the sun come out for a little while, you’ll be a better, more awesome person. You’ll exercise, and recycle, and maintain a teeny-tiny carbon footprint, and never complain about anything ever again. Mother Nature won’t budge.

5. Depression

Why won’t the winter just end??? Why did you move to this godforsaken city in the first place? Why has this winter been SO LONG? Why, centuries ago, did people choose to settle in a place that is literally frozen for four months out of the year? Why, world, why?

6. Resignation

Just face it: The winter is never going to end. The rest of the world is moving forward, and you are stuck in a continuous loop of ice and snow, forever, and ever, amen. You might as well go back to hibernating.

7. Hope

Wait—is that a tiny blade of grass you see? Is that a shaft of sunlight? Here and there, you start hearing little whispers of spring approaching, and you finally begin to hope. It will still be months before you’re skipping amongst the dewy flowers, but you know it will happen eventually. And with God as your witness, you will never be frozen again!

Well, at least until next year.

Images: Giphy (5)