Before all the white flower buds flutter off the Bradford pear in my front yard, I’m taking a moment to look back on what I learned in winter 2019.
Spring isn’t officially here yet, but it feels close, with the flowers and trees blooming. Not to mention the April showers that arrived in December and stayed all winter.
So it’s time to move on. And, it’s a good time to look back, to what I learned in December, January, February. To close out one season before moving on to the next.
Why Reflect On What I Learned in Winter?
A couple of years ago, I started taking a quarterly cue from writer Emily P. Freeman, who encourages others to do this seasonal reflection.
And I noticed the process elicits gratitude in me when I might have forgotten to be grateful. It also gives me firmer footing to step into what’s next in my life.
So I start by breezing back through my notebooks, paper calendar, and photos. It doesn’t take much time – but it can if I want to linger. What I learn sometimes is silly, sacred, or serious. And a few of these I choose to share here, hoping they will inspire you, make you laugh, or simply be useful.
So, in no particular order, here are four things I learned in winter 2019.
How to Say “Food Coma” in Spanish
It’s “coma alimentos.” I looked it up. Play with the emphasis so you can say it well. You’ll need to know this phrase if you’re visiting Phoenix too one day and a serendipitous encounter leads you to El Jacal Mexican Restaurant for brunch. (And I live in North Carolina. Why we were nearby, waiting for tires to be put on our loaner car, is another story for another day.)
Hello, huevos rancheros and a big bowl of pozole, served with fresh, homemade, corn tortillas. Say it with me: Coma alimentos.
I Had Forgotten How Fun It Was to Creatively Collaborate
Y’all. I had forgotten how much it lights me up to creatively collaborate with someone else on a project we’re both passionate about. We’ve had such a good time, dreaming and planning together. And we’ve nudged each other to make decisions and take action.
Need help moving forward with something? Get yourself an accountability partner, or a creative collaborator. (If you need help creating healthier habits, I might know someone. Or someones.)
It’s OK Not To Rush
My children are older now; the youngest close to getting a driver’s license, but not yet. And our family still has a lot going on. But in this season, I continue to discover myself and try to make choices that have positive ripple effects on others.
For 2019, I chose intentional as my focus word. And I must remind myself of it daily. To be intentional about slowing down. And to take deep breaths. Also, to choose to respond to life rather than react.
So my frequently asked question is: What do I need right now? And frankly, I don’t always know. So I breathe. I think about what I find life-giving. And I give my permission to not rush on to the next thing.
In December, I took a long walk in the snow and arrived late to a nearby church, where 15 people I didn’t know were worshiping in a sanctuary without electricity. We did not rush – before, during, or after. And it was better than OK.
In February, I noticed as small talk turned to a hush at a local bar as about 60 of us started focusing on what we’d brought to read during Silent Book Club. After an hour of silent reading, I sat and caught up with a friend, talked to the others I’d just met at our table, and lingered a bit. And it was more than OK.
In winter 2019, I learned that my “real life” still will be there in five minutes, or in an hour. And when I give myself permission to not rush sometimes, I’m better able to handle life when I get back to it. That’s my current version of grace and space for a healthier me.
There’s Just Something About a Paper Planner
I’m diligently using a paper planner this year, and it’s taking some practice for me to realize its complete potential after I’ve been using the calendar on my phone for so long. But I have some colorful pens, and I’m doing it.
What I’m learning is that a paper planner allows me space to explore, and dream, and track. The planner has become my parking lot – a place to park my thoughts and ideas instead of scribbling them on various scraps of paper that get scattered.
And one of my favorite parts is the habit tracker I tape into each weekly section, so I can stay accountable to myself. Everything, mostly all in one place (or two), to keep me on track with what I want most in my life.
So those are 4 things I learned in winter 2019. And now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear from you. Would you like to share what you learned? Comment below, or send me a note.
Hi! I’m Amy Hoogervorst, an integrative health coach offering grace and space for a healthier you. Thanks for reading! You can read previous “what I learned” posts here. And if you’d like to stay in touch, please subscribe to receive my weekly Well Check and other email updates. I look forward to connecting with you.