by Julie Standfield
I have a hypothesis that there are two types of people when it snows.
Yay! Oh my goodness, it’s snowing! Look! How exciting! I hope it settles – we can build a snowman and take the dog out in it, and take a sledge up the hill and have a snowball fight, and it’ll all be white and beautiful, and we can have a day off work and school. It’s going to be great!
Oh no, not again. Surely not. It only just snowed last week, for pity’s sake! The boiler condensation outlet pipe will freeze again and I’ll have to avoid Sainsbury’s (for fear of being considered one of ‘those people’ who panic buy bread and milk) even though we do actually need both bread and milk, and the school will be closed and I’ll have to battle to do work in between resetting the password on Netflix, and constantly shouting “turn it down!” when my son has Power Rangers on too loud, and then the roads will freeze and we won’t be able to go anywhere, and I’ll have to work from home and dial in to meetings and suffer the smarmy “oh lucky you, working from home – I walked five miles to get in to the office today” from Helen* in her Hunter wellies.
*Not her real name (probably).
Whether you’re a Type 1 or a Type 2, snow can be inconvenient at times; it reminds us that we have little control over the elements and that whether you love or loathe it, you have to be resilient and change your approach in order to limit the impact it has on your life. ‘Resilience’ is a word that sometimes makes me groan inwardly – the adult in me recognises that being resilient is massively important but the 16 year old in me quite enjoys a drama, and being resilient prevents me from indulging in said secret guilty pleasure.
There are many situations at work when being resilient is indeed our best option – whether it’s working for an organisation that doesn’t seem to value you, or working in a team where you don’t have great friendships or enjoyable work, or a tiring and difficult commute and long working hours – and the fact that we need to be resilient in these situations can sometimes be draining and tiring in itself. I saw a pin on Pinterest a few days ago that said ‘You are more resilient than you think – so far you have survived 100% of your worst days yet’ and this got me thinking about how being resilient is something we never think we are good enough at! I recognise that I judge myself for not being as resilient as I would like to be, but in reality I think I am really resilient. I’m just not convinced I actually enjoy it.
I don’t think being resilient is something you necessarily have to enjoy. You can be good at something and not enjoy it, and maybe this realisation is the secret to some of us building our own resilience levels. Recognising that you don’t have to enjoy the experience to be good at it – and that’s OK.
So, these Type 1 people – are they really only seeing the positive in the snow situation? Or have they learned to find enjoyment in the experience and a way to feel OK with being flexible and changing their plans in line with the challenges that snow brings? Maybe they just really like snowball fights.
Are the Type 2 people so focussed on the problems associated with the snow that they forget to live in the moment and thereby disregard the fun that the snow can bring? I am a Type 2 person myself – I don’t like the snow, I hate the cold, I can’t stand the slushy mess on the roads… but secretly, under much protest of only going outside in the snow to be a good mum, I love the challenge of building a great snowman, I love making a solid snowball and launching it into someone’s face!
There can be fun in that sense of ‘I don’t have control over everything’ that the snow brings. Sure, I’ll never shout “Yay!” when I see snow falling but I do realise that it’ll be OK, the snow will melt and we’ll all get back to our routines in a few days. Most importantly, I am resilient enough to know that even if I don’t enjoy it I will get through it and might secretly even have some fun – just as long as nobody else knows!