I’ve always had a very hard time with the winter but it seems my hard time has been getting worse. Just like when pain becomes chronic I start anticipating my discomfort sooner and sooner. I go way out of my way to avoid it - sometimes compensating in small ways like gratuitous sock purchases or trips planned many months in advance. Sometimes these activities lead to more trouble in other areas of my life like neglecting my schoolwork to online shop for sunny vacations or spending so much time complaining that I worry I won’t be able to speak on anything else.
These compensation patterns are functional; they can help. New socks are nice. Warm socks help keep me warm. But none of these techniques solve the problem. I could move someplace warm. Believe me, I think about it all the time. But I love it here. Honestly, I worry about the winter so much in anticipation that sometimes I wonder if I really even know what hurts about it.
So I’m out to do an experiment. I’d like to try to change the story I tell myself about the winter. I’d like to go exploring, see what actually hurts about it. I’d like to try to address the problems as they come in real time and see if, by making small adjustments, I might be able to weather the weather a little better. I will still buy socks. I will still take trips. Probably I will still talk all about the weather!
But, this year, I will try to remain totally open to other ways to move into all I’ve avoided out of the fear of this discomfort. In the meantime, I’m open to more ideas that will gently help me to create a haven where I feel safe exploring the winter. Maybe I will discover that what I thought I knew about myself is no longer true.
I’m open to ideas. I’m going to buy some gloves. I’ll dig out my long underwear. I’ll fill my thermos and maybe walk to work. I’ll take steps towards winter.
And, if you want to be part of this experiment, invite me to go snowboarding. There is still a chance I’ll still be resistant. I might put it off or even say no, but if you’re game, ask me again. I’m curious. I’ve never tried it. I might like it. I might become obsessed. It might change the trajectory of my life. Or maybe I’ll just have an afternoon of trying something new, which will be an afternoon that makes for less time and space for trying to avoid the discomfort of the winter.