I’m not a fan of winter, particularly, but I don’t hate it anymore. My perspective has changed. This is a good thing cuz where I live, winter lasts a looooong time. We still have snow on the ground here. It snowed as recently as yesterday. Spring will come, but it’ll be a while yet before it’s warm enough for me to enjoy being outside.
I don’t like to be cold, so there’s that, but the biggest reason I don’t like winter is that I don’t get to ride my bike outside for 7-8 months. In the past, that meant I didn’t get to ride at all for nearly 2/3 of the year. The remaining four, or five months were wonderful, but soon enough it was time again to hang up the bike for the winter, which made me so so sad, and ornery, and fat.
When I was younger, I just didn’t exercise for 8 months, and that seemed to work out okay. I bowled in the winter, and that was fun, if not particularly healthy, given the number of cigarettes I smoked and the number of beers I drank in 2 hours once a week. As I got older, however, it became apparent pretty quickly that those halcyon days of keeping the weight off without exercise in the winter were over.
So, I went to the gym, and if it wasn’t cold enough to freeze body parts, I walked in the evenings. I bought a trainer to ride my bike indoors, and for a couple of years, I was pretty good about sticking with it, despite the fact that it is quite simply the most boring activity on the planet and has nothing to do with why I love to ride my bike.
Then the plague happened, and two things changed everything for me really quickly: 1) I was working from home full-time, and 2) the government sent me some stimulus money. Working from home gave me extra time, and the money allowed me to purchase a “smart” trainer that connects to my computer and the internet and responds to programs that make it seem like I’m riding on a real route.
So I tried a bunch of different programs, and the one I stuck with is Zwift. I bought the trainer in September of 2020 and when winter came that year, I found I didn’t care! I could still ride and enjoy it, and I didn’t have to go out in the snow everyday for work! Now I’m back in the office 3 days a week, but I still manage to ride 4 or 5 days a week.
So I have been thinking about how that one thing changed my perspective so completely. It has inspired me to think about other things I can change within the frame of my work schedule and caregiving/housekeeping responsibilities so that I feel less trapped. When I get sad and ornery now it’s mostly because I miss the freedom I had before I moved in with mom 10 years ago. I never dreamed I would be there this long, and it’s causing me to chafe a little (sometimes a lot) at the bonds of the commitment I’ve made.
I often feel I have no time to myself, and to some extent that’s true – I certainly don’t have the time I did when I lived alone. However, I laid out a schedule a week or so ago, and I discovered that if I make a couple of small adjustments, there is some more free time to be found in my days. So right there, my perspective changed, and already this week I feel lighter and freer. I can’t travel, and I miss that, but being able to fit in other things that I’ve been missing has helped change my frame of mind.
Perspective is everything. Byron Katie suggests that for every thought we have, we question it. Is that true? Who would I be if it’s not true? Changing my perspective about things I take for granted – I don’t have time, I don’t have the freedom, I don’t have whatever I feel I need – makes me wonder what else I’ve been perceiving incorrectly: people, the town I live in, the work I do.
Everything, maybe. It’s worth thinking about.
How about you? What can you try to see differently?