This time next year, I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to be surrounded by mountains of snow. I don’t want to fight my way through slippery, narrow tunnels that have been dug out of the snow and occupy the space where the roads used to be.
This time next year, I don’t want my heart to sink because I stopped to chat with a neighbour and they mentioned we can expect more snow. More snow means being stuck in the snow – cars, homes, roads, everything – and it means either shovelling your way out of it or waiting for someone else to come and dig you out. When it snows, snow is the first thing you have to face when you go outside in the morning, because without shovelling that stuff out of the way, you aren’t going anywhere.
This time next year, I don’t want to wait for spring until April. And I don’t want to be placing bets on how many days after midsummer the last mountain of snow is going to finally melt away.
This time next year, I don’t want to look out at a white, glistening landscape. I want to look out at green rolling hills and an open ocean. I want to know that the Atlantic ocean is helping to keep the winter mild for us.
This time next year, I don’t want to be on really heavy meds all through the winter just to get through the day. I don’t want to go outside and have my traitorous body be convinced that it’s going to die.
This time next year, I want to be able to go for walks throughout the winter season without having to worry that if I’m outside for too long, I might asphyxiate from my throat closing. I want to be able to go out in nature and not spend the winter stuck inside like a caged animal.
This time next year, I want life to look pretty different than it does now. I want to have autonomy, to be able to take my kid to daycare every day, to go grocery shopping and take out the trash. I don’t want to have to rely on other people taking out time from their busy days to do the jobs that are mine to do.
This time next year, I want to be in a position where I can start planning to buy horses. I want having horses at home to stop being just a pipe dream and to start working on how to get it done. I want to start planning for real and make it a reality.
This time next year, I want to make sure that I’m not waiting anymore. I don’t want to go to my care to find frozen bottles of water because it’s so cold outside. I don’t want to get to the car and find that the trunk and all the doors have frozen shut during the night.
This time next year, I want to be in a very different place. I want to be able to say goodbye to the panic and anxiety that accompanies every winter here. Let go of the worry about how I’m going to get through another season spent within four walls with my mental health intact. I want to stop trying to think of things to do to keep me busy in place of being able to go out for walks. I want to stop jumping through hoops to stop myself from going crazy in the house.
This time next year, I want things to look very different. But right now, that’s a more vague idea than I’d like it to be. So, job #1, in making sure that this time next year looks very different, is to plan out what my perfect day looks like.