I get cold really easily.
I have struggled with depression in the past.
I’m a social creature who loves long summer days.
I prefer bare feet over boots.
I love the feeling of warm sun on my skin.
So naturally, my relationship to winter used to be this:
HERE IT COMES!!! (like that infamous line from Game of Thrones…)
GIRD YOUR LOINS!! (like Stanley Tucci announcing the arrival of Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada.
JUST GET THROUGH IT! (like the worst scenes from Gladiator)
HANG ON–don’t lose your mind! (like Tom Hanks in Castaway)
Okay, so maybe I’m being dramatic.
Or maybe I’m being brutally honest.
But my experience of winter for most of my life has been dread, panic, and defensiveness. I used to see winter as the enemy. I needed to hold my line or else engage in mortal combat.
That’s healthy, right? Sure it is…
It’s actually a recipe for disaster (or at least exhaustion) for someone who, say, decided to plant roots in northern New England.
But that’s bull$shit now that I’m thinking about it.
When I was a girl reading Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables, Ramona the Brave, and books with Laura Ingalls, I didn’t have that relationship to winter at all. I LOVED winter.
Winter used to mean snow days from school, waking up to that hushed feeling when you just KNEW there was snow on the ground. It meant hot cocoa and hot fires, long games of Monopoly, and building blanket forts inside—or elaborate snow forts outside. It meant decorating a live tree indoors and putting presents under it. It meant sucking on candy canes until the tips were sharp, like a needle.
It meant appreciating the sensation of warmth, like when my mom wrapped me in toasty sheets, fresh out of the dryer when I came in from playing outside.
What happened to me? Why did winter stop being magical, like a gift ready to be wrapped around me at the end of each year?
I recorded a little something for you here…reflecting on winter and what I’ve learned about living in a cycle.
I know what happened. I bought into that whole “adulting” package we’re sold—the one that comes with expectations to be productive, be serious, be consistent, be responsible, and act your age. Ick. Ptew. Blech.
Having young kids gave me an “excuse” to reclaim winter for a while, but then they had the audacity to grow up, the little rascals. They didn’t need me anymore to stay home with them when school was canceled. Plus, I work for myself, so who am I asking for permission for, exactly?
Ah, right! Society.
But then the pandemic hit and we ALL found ourselves at home, thrown into an early winter like a big, wooden clog got jammed into the gears of the machine on the factory floor, bringing “normal operations” to a grinding halt. (fun fact: did you know this is the root of the word “saboteur”? Sabot is french for a clog, and this was one of the earliest forms of workers protesting…)
I’m not where I used to be with winter—at all. I’m actually excited for it, clapping my hands in anticipation of its arrival. Have a listen to how I feel now.
Maybe it’s because I’ve found a way to reclaim my inner 9-year-old girl. Maybe it’s because I’m menopausal and my give-a-shit meter about what society expects of me as a woman or an adult is worn out. Maybe it’s because I now get the power of taking vitamin D3. Or maybe it’s simply because I know my own operating system much better now, and “normal” is not for me.
Are you over there feeling that, too?
Perhaps you’ve always had a lovely relationship with winter, and if that’s the case, I am inspired by you. But from where I sit, so many of my clients, friends, and neighbors have been talking about how something has shifted for them with regard to winter.
Many, like me, are cultivating a different—dare I say better?—relationship to winter this year. They’re EAGER for it. Hungry, even. Their eyes light up and their souls do a little happy dance of anticipation as they prepare to drop into the invitation of winter with wild abandon.
I’m right there, too.
In fact, my experience of winter now feels like this luscious image from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, when Sean Penn calls Walter to a grand adventure he can’t even think to imagine…
I am drawn forward, unable to resist, eager to respond.
Winter is calling and she wants to have a conversation. In fact, she has some gifts.
Here are three questions you might consider as winter makes her way to your home this year:
- If your soul could talk, what does it want for you this winter? Wrap that up.
- If you accepted the invitation of winter, what would your theme song be? Make the playlist.
- What is the permission slip winter is writing for you this year? Write that $hit down.
Think about these as you make your way into the heart of the winter, and maybe, just maybe a lovely conversation will happen and some unexpected gifts will be given—right on time, delivered just for you.
I’ll be right here, doing the same.