Winter blues and the gossip game

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I can’t seem to get comfortable with the seasonal transition from fall to winter this year. Perhaps this is because the weather is up and down like a yo-yo. I have seen snow come and go several times now and in huge storms with very high winds. Then I have seen torrential downpours of rain and the rapid departure of snow on the ground, roofs and lake.

Many people seem to be a little upset during these intense weather days. That makes sense because we are more or less as northerners accustomed to the fading of autumn and the coming of winter in familiar ways.

Even the animals and birds near my place in the remote wilderness seem confused and perturbed as they dart about doing their best to figure out what they should be doing to ready for winter. The coming of winter can be difficult for northerners, particularly those living in remote First Nations and towns. For many of us it means more freedom because we can travel far and wide over the frozen muskeg, ice roads and snowmobile trails. However, many of us are forced inside our homes for months.

In the winter, coffee shops and other social meeting places like clubs are more popular as people look for a way to get out and interact. The problem is that with the coming of this hard weather, people tend to get a little bit nasty with each other. The dynamics change as people become more inward thinking and, in many cases, they just might not be all that happy with their lives. With lots of time on their hands and months of reflection possible, people sometimes deal with their unhappiness or dysfunction by lashing out. So, I have always seen winter as the time when the most terrible gossip is spread.

People in leadership positions in politics, organizations and agencies are very often the brunt of the winter blues gossip. As a writer I have learned that anyone in the media is a target and in particular if they are writing an article that is controversial. I am sometimes amazed at the really hard and often racist or bigoted comments I have had thrown my way merely because I was expressing a point-of-view. It really is necessary to develop a thick skin when working in areas that are exposed to public opinion.

Sometimes people get negative with me merely because I don’t do what they want or I don’t keep in touch with them. I don’t go here or go there or do this or do that. I have seen that when I don’t make some people happy then they try to hurt me in some way and that makes me very sad but also angry. I live my life according to the motto of “live and let live,” which has a lot to do with why I choose to lead a clean and sober life.

I don’t hate or dislike anyone and I try my best to be good and encouraging to those I meet but I understand very well that there will always be those that don’t agree with my way of seeing and understanding the world. I am fine with that. I just wish people would be good and busy with their own lives and trying to improve themselves rather than lash out at others because it seems like an easy thing to do.

These days the coffee shops and local meeting places are being replaced by those who constantly check their status on social media like Facebook or Twitter. There are a lot of positive things about this type of social media but also there are many negative issues. For those with limited lives who are unhappy, something like Facebook becomes a weapon where they easily can strike out at others.

The one important thing they forget is that slanderous or untrue comments are documented and preserved. The courts are full of cases these days where people are getting sued for slanderous gossip they spread through social media. So the next time you feel the urge to knock someone’s reputation just for the fun of it you should think twice because it could cost you much more than just an apology.

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