Here is the truth, I am a born and raised optimist. I can find the upside of most anything and clearly see the glass as half full. Yet some how, after just a few weeks in the depths of New Jersey’s winter wonderland, I struggle to stay positive and become fixated with being warm and want…well, out of here!
I do not like the cold. At all. I understand and relate to those that say they need more light. That they feel depressed and unmotivated in the cold weather. That they don’t want to get up in the morning, get dressed for work, go to the gym once it is dark…and really just want to eat. Well, yeah, anything to find comfort, right? As I near the age of 50, squeezed into a body of a 30-something, I become acutely aware of my bones and the feeling of my clothes. Wearing double layers to keep warm makes me feel confined and stuffed, like after Thanksgiving dinner and that moment you realize you have eaten too much. I wear layered shirts, a long coat, scarf, gloves and a hat…and yet still feel cold. Unfortunately, once bundled, a hot flash will join me just long enough for me to unravel the layers, and ultimately feel cold again.
You can see how this is a challenge. Having said that, even feeling constantly irritated and stuck in this icy state of being, I have the ability to reset hourly if necessary and search for the light. The one thing that will make me feel warm and happy. I know that if I can just get past the cold wood floor beneath my cozy bed, that coffee is a mere half hour away and my friends at work, just an hour behind that. It’s a little mental game, but it does help get me to the next warm spot. Some days are harder than others.
Like when it snows and that sinking feeling comes over me. I feel trapped. Mostly trapped in my thoughts. How long will we be stuck? Will we lose power? Will we lose our water? How long will I have to shovel while unable to feel my toes? Will I ever be warm again?
While those questions run amok, there is a moment of bliss knowing I won’t have to work (since I am a teacher). Add to that the fact that I have 4 children at home cheering about the snow, and it becomes a balancing act of comfort vs. uncomfortable.
Which is when snow fun begins, for the kids. We spend some 30 minutes finding all the winter gear for the kids, get them zipped in and all laced up, and as I begin to sweat, I try to stand in their happy. They are SO happy! It’s hard, but I keep inhaling deeply in hopes of it being contagious. When they are finally dressed and are sufficiently moving slowly due to the layers of clothing, I reach for my camera. My lens. My one friend in life that allows me to slow my life down, giving me the space to watch moments repeatedly in order to savor each one. Cold or not, I do not questions how grateful I am for these precious moments.
I watch as the kids roll in it, throw it at each other, make snow angels, snowmen and laugh delightfully, not seeming to notice the cold at all. I snap shot after shot, finding comfort in the clicking and their little faces, and lose myself in their so-called warmth and happy. And then, my lens falls upon something that stops my wishing-to- be-somewhere-else thoughts altogether.
Through the lens I am drawn to our beautiful birds nest. Covered with a gentle dusting of snow, and no birds to be seen, I am reminded that spring will arrive as quickly as winter did. And that summer will quickly follow, taking my 18 year old out of my arms as his mamma and into the independent world of college days. Suddenly I feel my weight and warmth in my shoes again.
I bring my lens back to the little ones running and laughing in the snow again and remain still. Not because I am frozen, but because I am aware that life moves as quickly as our seasons and that if we cringe too much in any one spot, we will surely miss it. The warmth, that is. After all, watching the kids through my lens warms my heart, and creates a comfort right in the center of my uncomfortable. I can’t ask for much more than that.
What about you? Are you going to continue to complain about the discomfort or can you work to find a spot that is comfortable, right in the center of uncomfortable?