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What I’ve Learned from Saying “Yes” to Winter

what winter has taught me

If you’ve been hanging about these parts for some time, you might recall that in 2009, I pronounced a “Winter Resolution.” (Side bar: Is it just me, or does 2009 seem like last year, not SIX YEARS AGO. Where are the years disappearing to?) This resolution wasn’t ground-breaking. I was not going to become a world-class ice-climbing or move south every winter, but rather I would try to find a way to enjoy the season. Note, I did not say “love” winter. That, my friends, it what we call setting the bar too high. So…not love, but not “bare bones survival” either.

Since that time, I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress:

  • I bought cross-country ski gear and have gone on several trips each season for treks in the Gatineau Hills. (I also discovered that it’s a secret party spot!)
  • I also took up downhill skiing. After a few lessons, I decided to invest in some equipment by buying some second-hand. Having my own gear has been great — no more line-ups for rentals and I’ve been able to get used to how my body and gear like to go together. All up, since the resolution, we’ve done two trips to Smuggler’s Notch (our whole family agrees it’s an awesome place) and, more closer to home, at Calabogie Resort (another very family friendly locale). Plus, quite a few day trips to Pakenham.
  • I also bought a pair of Sorel boots and an extremely comfortable and warm NorthFace down coat. One the one hand, I kind of resented paying so much money for these high-quality items that do nothing for my appearance. But on the other hand … I do live in Canada! Plus? They totally make a difference. I am so much happier outside now that I am wearing warm clothing. I have no idea why it took me this many years to realize this. I guess I’m a slow learner.

But just this past weekend, I realized something big. And it makes me feel a little sad that it took me so long to realize it.

Over the past number of years, I’ve been forcing myself to say “yes” through gritted teeth to winter activities. This means that, for example, on a Saturday afternoon, I have said “yes” when Hubby asked if I wanted to join he and the kids for a skate down on the canal. (In the past, I would have said, “No thanks, I will just stay at home by this fireplace and read my book.”)

Or, “Hey, do you want to do a family ski day today?” My internal voice still says: Hmm … skiing in the cold or squeezing in a precious weekend nap? But I quash that voice and I say, “Yes, that sounds great — let’s do it!”


And guess what? It always does end up being great!

Or even, “We’d like to invite you to join us on a press trip up to Mont Tremblant,” I still have a knee-jerk instinct to say: “Oh, I am so tired already and hanging out on a ski hill doesn’t actually sound like my dream-come-true.”

The #FordBacktoBasics event actually was a dream come true! (Photo courtesy of Regina Sosing/20YS)

Have you already guessed what my realization is? Here it is:

By saying “yes” to winter, I realized I was actually saying “yes” to my own life.

Honestly, I’m not trying to be dramatic. I really have realized that when I say “no” to winter, I’m not participating in my own life … how sad is that? Well, I didn’t really know. I didn’t really realize how much I was missing. But now I have.

I’ve realized that saying “yes” to winter has meant saying “yes” to laughs with family and friends on car rides to and fro, to cuddles on ski lifts with kids still willing to cuddle with me, and to quiet adult toasts by the fire when it’s all said and done.

So that, my friends, is that I’ve learned from saying “yes” to winter.


  1. can you say yes for me too, please, Julie.

  2. in all seriousness, I am trying this year! we have been to the canal 2x, and I even tried skating again, but have now officially retired from this sport! I will walk and let the boys skate! we actually signed up for a downhill ski lesson last weekend, but the -35 windchills had me wimping out and cancelling, but I will try to book again. the extreme cold this year has made it tough, but we are trying to enjoy the outside part of winter.. not just the hot chocolate by the fire side :)

    • I know … it’s so hard. It’s like working out — I know I will feel good afterwards, but I never actually want to do it in the first place. The right gear is EVERYTHING. Full face coverage on the hills, super good waterproof mitts, wool ski socks.

  3. Brilliant post – you’ve put into words what I’ve been thinking. Now I need to put some of these things into practice myself. Thank you.

  4. Jacqueline says:

    I love this post – one of my favorites! It made me smile.:)

  5. Loved this post – this is what I’m trying this year, too, and WOW, has it ever made a difference to my whole enjoyment of the season. Just getting out and trying new things -something I usually HATE – has made me, well, maybe not embrace winter, but at least give it a firm handshake.

    I recommend adding t-max socks from Mark’s Work Wearhouse to your winter kit. They usually get a shipment in in October and by now are down to just a few pairs left until next year – but if you can find them, snap them up. They are the secret to a happy outdoor winter lifestyle!

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  8. Boy do I wish I had read this earlier. I hibernated. I hope to try skiing with the kids early on next winter to see if it something we enjoy.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

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