Heating costs go up, wages don’t, temperatures fall and anything that is available is more expensive. People are lowering the temperature settings in their homes and offices to deal with the increased burden on their finances even as snow storms disrupt daily life. Winter and notably this holiday season may be difficult as the year draws to a close for many. You may be giving or getting a little less in the way of gifts this year than previous seasons. Hopefully you won’t be going deep into debt trying to keep up. Going out to eat has already been scaled way back for most families. Driving less and staying home more is easier on the budget. Purchasing only what you need and not necessarily everything you want is more common now. It may not be as much fun and will still be a challenge for many households. Throw in the dark days of winter and everything seems a little more gloomy than usual.
Turning off unnecessary lights or using less of them can help lower power consumption, and it’s a lot darker and more noticeable when you drive through small towns or villages. Everything is very dark and quiet and few lights are on if any. Daylight is short and often overcast in the north so it does seem as though winter is one long night. When I travel through some small towns I get the impression that everyone is hunkered down against the dark and cold. There’s no reason to stop so not many do.
When the wind is blowing and you hear small ice pellets hitting the outside walls you will know there isn’t much separating you from the cold. Outside work is cold, but not something new. Inside you may be out of the wind and snow but it can often still involve uncomfortably cold temperatures – especially if you are trying to be very conservative with your heating. Sweaters, hoodies (hooded sweatshirts) and blankets can make a big difference in how you work inside if you spend much of your time sitting at a desk or workshop table. Sometimes a small space heater will produce enough warmth to keep you working on even the coldest of days. Heat a small space instead of a whole house or wide open work area.
Some businesses will be forced to shutdown or reduce their workforce because of the high cost of energy if an adequate fuel supply is even available This is not necessarily a new thing, but it may come at a bad time when money is tight for many families. Many may not be able to avoid these situations, but you can try to prepare yourself for the possibility. This is why learning new skills and building upon what skill, resources, and experience you do have is potentially a wise decision that could increase your value in the job market and give you options others may not have. Keep learning. It could pay off if you need to pick up some extra work to supplement your income.
On these cold dark nights if I’m not working I do try to reread some of my technical books and whitepapers or revisit some of the books I keep on hand for resource material. There are many videos and documents online to view, but I still prefer to read actual subject matter books offline with a hot cup of tea and use a radio for background noise – old Christmas standards work well this time of year. This activity is both educational and a form of entertainment that I invested in years ago when I was still purchasing real books to augment my skill set. Now I can read these books again and still get something out of them. I do have a Kindle that I can download new books without going out to the bookstore – of which there are few of these days if any. I can order new actual books or download kindle editions, but I already have enough to keep me busy for a while. Once in a while I’ll look for newer editions of books I already have that address new features or developments that have changed since I picked up my older copy of these books. I still go back and read my old Unix and Linux books from time to time. I guess this could be thought of as my hobby, which also helps me sharpen my skill set. These investments I made over the years still offer much. Unfortunately I sometimes run into time constraints and have to drop what I’m doing to address some issue that needs immediate attention. If the weather is bad and I don’t have to travel I can return to what I was reading.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and the weekend could bring some challenging weather to the area. I might get a chance to sit back and do a little reading. Let it snow and let the wind blow. I’ll have a hot cup of tea or maybe a cup of dark roast coffee. Yes the power could go out, the Internet might not work, but it might be the perfect time to relax and read a few programming or database guides. Always make the most out of what you have because it might be exactly what you need.
There are reports of the flu, RSV, and COVID still impacting everyday life and how we work. Even the common cold seems to be making a spectacular resurgence. Travel gets impacted by the weather and the main media is still pushing out questionable content and opinions. This is perfect for shutting off as much nonsense noise as possible and grabbing a good book off the shelf. Slow down enjoy the moment and stay warm. This is a good time to be thankful for what you have and enjoy the snow.
Have a good Thanksgiving.