In my half of the Earth, we’ve recently drifted past the Winter Solstice – the shortest, darkest, day of the year and usually one of the coldest too.
Some might consider this a depressing time, but for me it is cause for optimism. After all, if life is already this great right now, can you imagine the awesomeness that will ensue as we add even more sunlight and warmth to each day for the next six months?
In order to make the most of this philosophy, it’s handy to perform a mental reset right now and review our training principles, so we can lock in our past gains and build further on our Foundation of Badassity in 2016.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to do a little Winter Greatest Hits album – the most useful winter-themed articles from this blog’s first 4.75 years of life. With the added bonus of fresh review of what has changed since they were first written, and what has not.
Pumpitude for the Body and Brain
First and foremost, a review of something physical, because far too few smart people pay attention to this side of things. A brainy but flabby tech company manager once said to me, “my body is just a contraption I use to carry my brain around” and I had to strongly disagree.
One of Mr. Money Mustache’s chief goals is to shatter the artificial wall we draw between mental and physical realms. Your mind is not some ethereal bit of cosmic magic, accessible only by divine gods, psychotherapists or antidepressants. It’s simply a complex piece of meat connected to the rest of your meat systems. With this basic medical training you can quickly realize that mental health is way, way, way more influenced by what you do with your body than most people assume. So check this out:
It’s Winter – Get Out and Enjoy it!
This classic will make you excited to renew the lost art of the Evening Walk. Originally published December 2014.
How to Ride your Bike All Winter – and Love it
There’s no such thing as a “biking season” – the awesomeness of bikes only increases as temperatures drop and precipitation levels rise. You just need a bit of basic gear, explained in this article from November 2011.
Since writing that, the winter riding scene has become even more jolly with the addition of an electric mountain bike. Definitely an unnecessary luxury, but I can now bike cheerfully through a foot of snow (or pull a bike trailer full of groceries through up to 6″) without getting bogged down.
Saving Money through Science and Fashion
The Oil Well You Can Keep In Your Pants
In this article, you learn about an investment that will return thousands of percent of its purchase price to your wallet every year. Also, you get to see me in my underwear.
First Understand, then Destroy your Home Heating Bill
A little bit of Heat Science 101 for those of us who like tinkering with the house and getting paid for it with energy savings.
General Philosophy and Optimism
High Cost Living – it’s a State of Mind
Three years ago, I spent the winter in Kailua, Hawaii helping a reader build a vacation suite on to the back of his house. The island chain is famous for its high cost of living, but as trained Mustachians we enjoyed beating the system and finding ways to live frugally just by adapting to local conditions.
Why We Are Not Really All Doomed
With the US economy running on overdrive while financial panics pop up elsewhere, many fear-mongers are making predictions of impending doom. As they always do. This article reminds you that trying to predict short-term movements in the stock market is worse than useless.
But solid financial and lifestyle habits based on an understanding of what happens in the longer term are the closest things there are to guaranteed riches.
And that’s it for 2015.
For 2016, I have committed to another bigger and better year. Plans include attending my son’s 10th birthday party, building a studio building in my back yard, buying a Nissan Leaf, experiments in solar power and Uber driving, making videos, publishing a book, and giving talks to huge, scary crowds of people at the World Domination Summit and maybe even TEDx Boulder.
(Update from the distant future of 2022. Wow, I actually did quite a few of the things I had planned on this list – way to go past self! So I updated the paragraph above by adding links to the results.)
What will be new for you?
It has been nice up here in Wisconsin so far this winter so the fear of dying from cold and snow is gone. Except for the 8-12 inches of snow and ice we are getting in 3 hours. If I don’t make it home, I will probably wish I moved closer to work and rode my bike!
I normally try and get outside for at least a little while everyday during the winter. Even if the sun isn’t out, my mood is drastically better if I can just get outside – even if it is only for a 15 minute walk.