Winter is Better in Retirement


This is my third winter of retirement. It occurred to me this fine, freezing Quebec January morning, that my winter survival habits have changed since my working days.

In those quickly-forgotten working days of January, I would bundle in as much winter gear as necessary to catch the bus, where I would overheat on said bus in as little winter gear as I could get away with, to get to work in the dark. Leaving work, same story. Rare outings at lunchtime. In the dark evenings, I would plan for getaways to the south: Mexico, Caribbean cruises, Florida. Then count down the weeks till the getaway, overdose on sunburn, then come back to count down the weeks until spring.

Today, no bus to worry about catching, I start every day with the weather channel to check out the windchill, because now I can actually plan to be outside in the winter! I’ve discovered this frosty season is not so terrible when you can plan around it. I try to get outside at least once a day, even on very cold days – I now own warmer boots and wear long underwear. And I don’t care about messing my hair with hats.

Here are some ways I survive my Canadian winter, both indoors and out!

  • Curl once a week, in a league, on a schedule. This prevents panic impulse buys of Caribbean cruises.
  • Walk on the frozen river. Nothing like it. Stay on the snow-mobile tracks – if they don’t crash through the ice, you won’t!
  • Skate the Rideau canal, or if, like me, you don’t like the windchill, eat at a canal-side restaurant and admire the hardier (younger) skaters. Same for ski hills – they all have nice sitting and après-ski lounges to enjoy the view if you don’t want to (can’t anymore) do the skiing.
  • Indoors, lots of out-of- the-house-but-stay-indoors daytime activities in the winter : go bowling; go to the museum and see the Imax show; go swimming (this one a favourite – nothing like the public-pool hot tub with an icy outdoor view!)
  • At home, binge watch HGTV. Better yet, watch curling.
  •  READ (well, this is an every-season activity!)

I almost am sorry when winter ends now. Well, that’s disingenuous, I admit 😉

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