Just Say Yes (to Winter)
Thinking about it is a lot easier than actually doing it
I’ve never been good at New Year’s resolutions. Early January — that time of year to find fault with my previous 12 months’ efforts — brings out the “No” in me.
New Year’s Day means swearing allegiance to doing less in my life, convinced a new calendar offers the chance to negate all that led me to those late December doldrums. Bold proclamations of “This year I won’t gain any more weight!” fade by Super Bowl Sunday, when I solve the puzzle of “How many onion rings are too many?” by switching to nachos. Shouts of “I won’t spend money recklessly!” dissipate by Presidents’ Day when visions of spring break sunshine arise, and my annual promise to endure less of my winter indoors goes unmet the moment I reach for my single pair of wool socks and realize just how cold it is outside.
Despite neighbors’ wondrous tales of winter camping, backyard ice shows and dogsledding at countless holiday parties, I’ve rarely ventured far in winter, my New Year’s Resolution no match for a multitude of excuses. Surrounded by millions of beautiful wintry acres, I’ll choose to hunker down and wait for a late April thaw. Want to hike up Lafayette? I’d love to but this crock-pot chili won’t cook itself. Let’s lace up the skates and join a pond hockey team! I would except for this documentary on motor oil I really should watch. How about a few runs at Gunstock or snow tubing at Loon? Sounds fun but someone must tend to the indoor herb garden — parsley matters.
The idea of winter camping has always perplexed me. Bundle up, pack a few days’ rations into a sack, sharpen an ice axe, walk for hours and sleep in a nylon hut while sub-zero winds howl and moan at your frigid body? If I wanted to be cold and miserable, I reason that I could always soak my feet in the kitchen sink and sleep in the back yard, a few stale crackers in my pocket.
But I’m through thinking this way. This new year is different. It’s time to consider New Year’s resolutions in a different shade. I now resolve to stop saying “No” and start saying “Yes!” to things in my life. I’ll say “Yes!” to the order of tilapia with a side of quinoa, “Of course!” to automatic savings deductions and long-term financial planning and I offer a resounding, “Let’s Go!” to anyone with an extra pair of snowshoes, cross-country skis or an open spot on a local luge team. I’ll up the ante and seek out snowmobilers, ice carvers and ice fishermen. All this New Year’s negativity has brought me nothing but unmet goals, an expanded waistline, empty pockets and an unhealthy skepticism of the great blustery outdoors.
It’s time for a change.
I look forward to saying yes to winter, filling my free time with activity, fresh air and new experiences. I’ll be ready for that crock-pot chili because I’ll spend the day downhill skiing or scoring the winning goal in an overtime hockey game, and no one will catch me binge watching TV when there are trails to ride and snow forts to build. New Year’s resolutions are about turning things around, and what better way than to start with a weekend of winter camping.
Now if I can just find a second pair of wool socks, I’ll be ready to go.