No Shoveling Heat!

The worries of Northern Januarys melt away in The Villages.

January is here. When I lived up North, it signaled the start of the coldest, bleakest part of the year. During my 30 years of living on New York’s Long Island, I went through three expensive snow blowers, about a dozen heavy, steel shovels, and hundreds of hours of back-breaking work to clear my driveway and the walkways around my home. It was a freezing, finger-numbing exercise that sometimes had to be redone several times before the snowstorms ended and the white stuff melted away.

And when the sheets of ice and snow finally turned to flowing liquid, my basement usually received about three inches of floodwater that took many painful hours to vacuum up, carry upstairs, and dump away from the house. January was one of the messiest months of the year.

Hooray for Florida. One of the January joys of living in The Villages, where winter temperatures rarely drop below 50 degrees, is, of course, there’s no snow to shovel and you don’t have to shovel away the warm rays of the sun. And who would want to do anything about Central Florida’s delightful winter weather?

January is also the peak of the snowbird season, which receives a lukewarm reception from some of our “year-rounders” who find Villages thoroughfares extra-heavy with traffic, long checkout lines in stores, and extra-long wait times to get seated at favorite restaurants. But that’s a small price to pay for a time of year when, unlike people up North, we can comfortably play golf and tennis, sun ourselves at village pools, do some casual gardening, and take leisurely walks whenever we like.

Another bonus that winter brings to Central Florida is a nice reduction in our electric bills. For me, this means no more need for air conditioning and almost no need to ever heat the house. My energy bill drops by more than 20 percent from January through April.

Occasionally, I’ve spent a few January days up North visiting family members who have a “macho” mindset that says suffering the rigors of freezing winter weather toughens you up, improves hardiness, and helps you live longer. But the longevity here is nothing to complain about. And the North’s “healthy” frigid weather can’t top the quality of life we have here, living in the warm winter sun in “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.”