I recently read an article which posed a question that went something like, “Why are people from Nordic countries suicidal as fuck?” I mean, let’s face it: it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s dreary. And it’s like that for about six months out of the year. As a Miami girl who has spent 20 years trying to come to terms with living in Boston — such is my love for my husband — I was immediately drawn to this question.
I have survived thus far by clinging to the rule that you get to complain about one season, and one season alone. You can complain all day, every day about that season but you can’t then also complain about any other season. Don’t tell me that it’s so cold that you can feel your bits falling off, and then come to be six months later to complain about your hair in summer’s cruel humidity. I have always chosen winter.
But, then, this article passed over my social media stream and I think, “Well, if there is anyone who gets to complain about winter, it’s the Norwegians.” I thought I’d find some compatriots, some cranks, some fellow-heatmisers. I was mistaken. The Norwegians actually do the opposite of complaining about winter; instead they see winter as an opportunity.
“Look at this forecast for freezing rain all day, it’s a great opportunity to snuggle by the fire with my family and play board games.”
“Three feet of snow just fell overnight, guess I can try out my new show shoes.”
“I haven’t seen the sun for a week, looks like I’m avoiding skin cancer this winter.”
Okay, so many the last one is going too far. But you get the point.
It got me thinking: What if I applied this same logic to other difficulties? In hindsight, it is a truism for me that I have learned more from the failures and the left turns and the u-turns than I have from the easy successes. And, I’ve been more fulfilled and happier when I’ve had to earn the promotion, the medal, the fame. Whereas I once saw the mountain and thought, “This is going to be hard,” I now look up and say, “Oh man, the view is going to be amazing when I get to the top.”
So, how about you? What are the difficulties you are experiencing, and how can you change your mindset about them? Will this be the winter of your discontent, or will you shine through and melt the face off of the opportunities that lie within? I think we both know the answer, you badass, you.