I live in a part of the world where we are affronted by cold weather. We aren’t prepared for it. We spend summer time in blissful abandon, and autumn in denial, hoping that if we are just positive enough winter will skip us this year (well I do).
Then winter kicks in. The grass freezes over,it’s too damned dark, we are faced with iced over windscreens in the mornings and everyone is miserable (well I am). I hate being cold. really and truly. If you ever spent a year of your life living in a bashed up old caravan you would too.
Yet here we are. Winter. And I realize that I must be growing up (not just because my joints hurt in the cold) but because I am actually able to see the value of the cold, dark months.
I have realized that I have to allow it to happen (embrace is too strong a word for the grudging acceptance I feel) and use it for what it’s meant for. Just like night time is for sleeping, I believe winter time is for regaining your sense of self.
Winter is all about hibernation – staying indoors, spending time with yourself, taking stock of your life, your dreams, your goals. It’s a time for reflection (in the fecking ice).
If summer is all about action and moving forwards then winter is all about being still. Maybe it’s just because I am so reluctant to leave my hot water bottle and duvet, but it seems to me that this is an opportunity to still the raging need for action and actually take stock of my life. To look at how far I’ve come, to gauge how I feel about the direction I’m heading in and whether it’s the way I want to go. Until eventually I can just still my thoughts and try to be.
Winter is a time to be kind to yourself. It’s too damned cold to add to your misery with guilt and low self esteem. Instead you just have to allow yourself the extra cups of coffee and cocoa and find extra minutes to spend in bed in the morning. It’s a time to rest. A time to heal old wounds, take them out, look them over and wrap them in a blanket with a cup of soup.
You have to take comfort in the warm little things as they happen.
So I am officially giving myself a timeout this winter – from all the busy things I feel I always need to do. All the life-defining moments that I find myself chasing after. Instead I am booking out time for movies in bed on a Sunday morning with the kids. I am going to skip Friday night out and write in my journal. Then I’m going to dig out my diaries from ten years ago and laugh at the things that I was worried about back then and try to find some kind of wisdom in it all. I am going to wear un-sexy thermal underwear, maybe even for days at a time (being single has it’s perks). I am going to build fires in the fire place and maybe even read a book that has nothing to do with work or study – just because.
I am going to find the strength to be lazy and not hate myself for it. I am going to learn to look after me, and take time to be still. I hope that all of you will do the same.