I consider myself to be a fairly happy person. I try to look on the bright side of things, hold on to hope for a better tomorrow and cherish the people who are in my life. I count my blessings and fight any urges to be jealous of what others may have that I do not. For the most part, I like who I am, enjoy my job and love my friends and family - all of which I am very grateful for.

That said, I have to admit that winter can be a very depressing season for me. The fewer daylight hours make it seem like I am coming home from work just in time to go to bed. Sometimes that's a reality, but most of the time it is just an urge to snuggle in after dark.

There are fewer opportunities for me to spend time outside, though some would disagree with me. I don't like the thought of being cold for any extended length of time nor do I like the thought that skiing or skating would likely result in me falling on my butt. Again, that urge to snuggle in takes over.

I started to recognize the symptoms of anti-social behaviors and the urges to hibernate around Christmas time. This makes a lot of sense as those are the days with the least amount of sunlight and people are busy with holiday planning.

We, at the newspaper, were coming down from our pre-Christmas schedules of concerts, parties, programs and Santa visits. I found my calendar nearly bare as the Christmas season turned from being a public celebration into a family-oriented one.

It was shortly after the first of the year when I decided I needed to fight the urge to hibernate all winter. I had received an invitation from a friend to go out for an evening. I refused the offer because it seemed like too much effort to shower, get dressed, put on makeup and do my hair. I had spent the whole day, a Saturday, in my pajamas and I was happy to continue slumming the entire day away.

It wasn't until the next day that I realized I had missed an opportunity to have some fun and spend time with a friend whom I don't see very often. I was mortified by the lack of energy I had felt and how easily it had been to simply give in to my winter-driven anti-social tendencies.

So, that next Monday, I started planning some activities that would keep me from burrowing down in my safe and cozy house to waste away the days of winter.

I arranged to visit my brother and his family for a weekend, planned dinner dates with friends, made a list of movies I wanted to go see, went to concerts I normally wouldn't have gone to and enjoyed a visit to my sister's house in Iowa with my parents.

There have been many other events that have kept me busy, some work-related and others I have sought out because my calendar was looking a little bare. Some outings were even spontaneous, which is out of my comfort zone. I'm a planner and surprises don't usually sit well with me, but the more things I do with a "spur-of-the-moment" invitation, the more comfortable I get with those unplanned events.

I am currently anticipating a weekend getaway with my parents, siblings and all the nieces and nephews this coming weekend. It is just one more event that will help make this potentially-depressing season go by much more quickly.

I have to say, however, that I've been having so much fun making sure I don't give in to my hibernation gene, I may just be sad to see it all end!