Mrs. Brightside

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life23 Comments


I love winter.

Some people don't. Some people curse it, condemn it, pray for its timely demise.

But not me.

I like to be cold much more so than being hot. I'm a hot house flower of sorts. One that does much better not actually being in a hot house.

Maybe an ice fishing house with a small heater is more my style, save for not being real big into ice fishing. 

One of the real bonuses of living in Minnesota during the winter at age 46 is that when your hormones start stoking the internal metabolic flames, you can just step outside and ahhhhhh… instant relief.

Of course, this isn't practical at 2:30 a.m., but I'm fortunate to live with a man who keeps the thermostat dialed way down low between the hours of Midnight and 6 a.m.

It's funny. I used to fight with him over how cold the house was at night. Back in my 30s. Of course, back then I would have picked a fight with him over his shoelace being untied. Still… time has shown me there was a larger plan at work: he was planning for my change of life all along.

I told my therapist about this, the idea of being grateful for winter and how it is a real plus for my perimenopause self to which she reminded me it wasn't too long ago where I complained to her that Minnesota was never a place I would have chosen to live.


It's simply a matter of a shifting perspective, and I'm not just talking about some Pollyanna way of looking at the world, but rather, what am I grateful for instead of what I'm lacking for.

Are there things you've found a new perspective on over the years? If so, by all means, share.


Cathy ZielskeMrs. Brightside

23 Comments on “Mrs. Brightside”

  1. #1

    What a great post to read Cathy!! Happy your feeling this way and sharing it.

    I could have written this myself, winters are better for me now and I don’t just wish for it to be over with. Sleeping in a cold house at night is so much easier then being hot and feeling like I can’t breath. I take walks out in the snow and take pictures and really appreciate the different seasons we have now more then when I was younger.

    Sadly my hubby would love for it to be HOT HOT HOT all the time but puts on extra layers and tries not to complain to much so that I can enjoy the colder months. I LOVE THIS MAN!!

    Keep being your COOL self!!!!

  2. #2

    Ah, those menopausal years. I remember them well.

    Picture this. In January, in NE OH, I’m sitting on my front porch steps at 2:00 am, head in my hands, wearing t-shirt, shorts and boots (well, there is snow on the steps), waiting for the internal furnace to shut down. I live in a small town, the mayor lives down the street, the cops patrol my street regularly. They stop to see if I’m alright. Yup, nothing to see here, keep movin’, just chillin’.

    After that, they only waved as they made their nightly patrol.

  3. #4
    ana roat

    We sold our home just over a year ago and haven’t decided if we build or buy another place so we are renting a 1000 sq foot house for the time being. It’s been a long time since we were last renters. We are in our early 50’s and most of our friends have beautiful homes with “to die for” furniture and decor. We have the most beautiful grandbaby ever and a second on the way. My prospective has changed on home ownership. Right now I don’t need a big house with a fat mortgage. I prefer the laughter of a toddler. The little place we call home is on a hugh lot in an older neighborhood where most of our neighbors have been here for 40 or more years. On any given weekend the street is filled with grandkids of all ages laughing and playing and stopping to say hello. There is peace here and it’s pretty nice. Oh and the furnace went out a couple weeks back. The bill was hefty but not mine. Since “aunt flo” is packing her bags and almost ready to depart, the cooler temp was kinda nice…

    So long auntie flo it’s been go to know you…!

  4. #5

    Greetings from the chilly and windy Black Hills of South Dakota! I have always been a lover of winter. The only good thing about summer is the long daylight hours and the pool. My husband is the one picking fights with me about the house temps. (I’ve been ordered nothing below 68 in winter, above 72 in summer. I may drop it lower when he’s not awake…but you didn’t hear that from me!)

    One of my goals for this year is to find more gratitude with the moment and what we have. To stop drooling over everything I see on blogs/in magazines/at Target. To have a house full of memories and laughter instead of “stuff”. Slowly but surely I’m making progress…

  5. #6

    I’m a few years past you and into full fledged menopause. I live in the Colorado Rockies at 8,000 feet, it’s often -10 and -20 below (I guess that is redundant, I don’t need to write both the minus sign and the word below, need more coffee …) at night. It REALLY agrees with my menopausal body temperature, I wear shorts and a tank top in the house while my family wears normal winter clothes. I’ve eliminated most starchy carbs from my diet because it helps the menopause symptoms, if I have a glass of wine, guaranteed hot flash. But sometimes a person just needs a glass of wine, hot flashes be damned.

  6. #7

    Here’s my words of wisdom regarding how my perspective has changed over the last several years….free your mind and the rest will follow. Now, that being said, I am a Flight Attendant, and I think I’ve seen it all and put up with it all by now. Ive learned to go to work with an open mind cause every day is gonna be another crazy day in the air!

  7. #8
    Julie Mitchell

    It is -20 celcius here in Montreal today. This menopausal woman is not complaining. I also walk out with no winter gear when I have a hot flash. I feel like smoke is radiating out of my body and it feels sooooo good. It’s good to see I’m not the only one!

  8. #9
    Becky H

    This story is great, because I am the same way. I tell people they can put clothes on but they will only want ME to take off so much. My kids and husband say we live in the antarctic in our house and we live in Va. Beach, VA where it doesn’t get very cold. That is why everyone in the house has their on fleece throw. (except me of course)

  9. #11
    Teresa Igo

    I feel for you Cathy. I haven’t had the hot flashes at night yet. Hope I never do. My husband has watched me sitting here in the cold house (thermostat stays on 68) with my robe and blanket on and then start peeling those off all of a sudden, he just laughs at me. It can be funny sometimes!

  10. #12

    Autumn has always been my favorite season – but now I’m loving all 3 cooler seasons for the same reason as you! So nice to just flip off those covers in the middle of the night and know the chilly house can cool me quick (our thermostat is set for 50º at night – not too often does it drop that low and turn on, but once or twice I’ve heard it come on – not this year though!) No need to turn on that little fan right next to my bed – yet… We heat with a wood stove during the day when I’m working at home and I know how to keep it just right – for me. Often in the evening though my cold blooded husband thinks it needs a “kick” and next thing I know it’s 80º inside… AUGH! Sure would be nice if we could be the same temps as our partners…sigh…

  11. #13

    My perspective on everything about my life has changed drastically in the past six months. Six months ago I was doing 10,000 things at 800mph and not stopping for anyone – road cycling, walking, running two businesses, working for a third, taking care of our home and family, and all of that came to a screeching halt in October. I didn’t have a “breakdown” per se, but I quit talking and spent nearly the entire month in bed or on the couch and most of it sleeping. I have very few memories for the month either. As I’ve visited doctor after doctor, the last being a psychiatrist, they can’t really figure out what’s going on, except that I can’t do anything that requires a lot of concentration or it makes me shaky and I have to sleep for quite a few hours to feel better. I am on antidepressants to try to control the symptoms and now an anti-anxiety medication, which has done a great deal to help. I am trying very hard to adjust my thinking about my “new” life, but some days it is really hard. I feel like I have had my feet nailed to the floor. Other days, I am okay with it all and I realize that we all have changes during our lives that are unforeseen and that we would prefer to not adjust to. After this year, menopause may be easy…

  12. #14

    I meant an anti-seizure medicine, which the psychiatrist hopes will quiet down the over active parts of my brain. She thinks I had a brain infection that has caused my senses of hearing, sight, and motion to be overstimulated. I guess it helps when I tell you the whole story.

  13. #15
    Ruth G

    Cathy, I live a bit further south, in northern Illinois and have always preferred winter over summer. In winter you can always find ways to get warmer: put on more clothing (or the right clothing), get physically active, drink or eat warm stuff. In the heat there are few choices that are practical (going to the pool or filling the backyard pool takes quite a bit of water/expense) or comfortable (cold drinks cause pain in my teeth, really cold food is frequently unhealthy but very yummy – ice cream…) So although, I’m a blessed almost 46 (I’ve only had a couple of night sweat episodes – mostly after having a couple of glasses of wine or a beer or two so I’ve stopped drinking) I can relate to your love of the cold and it’s great capacity to make life more livable (my walks are so much more enjoyable when I have to work to get sweaty rather than just starting out that way!) Hurray for winter!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  14. #16

    Yeah, I’ve have a found a new perspective on over the years. Like…don’t get all caught up in TV shows…(as in think about them because you enjoy the 2 hours of English Accents, the clothes and the pomp and circumstance)…because they have story endings you DO Not See coming nor Do Not like to see done.

    Boo Hiss Downton Abbey…..
    (I knew I could come here and share my upset with you)

    Yey winter….Boo Summer….

  15. #17
    Tracy Smith

    I hate to say it, but I think I’m going to be a downer here. I moved to MN from southern CO… and I still hate MN winters after all this time. In fact, not too long ago, I made a social media comment about the fact that while MN has some great things, it will never have my whole heart. If I have to find something positive, as I just went to the theater on Sat night, I’ll say that I do appreciate that we have the highest # of theaters behind only New York.

  16. #18
    Christine K

    My husband and I spent the weekend in Winthop, Washington and I as so tempted to step outside of our hotel room in the middle of the night to cool off. The temp at night was running about 19 degrees.

  17. #20
    laura g.

    i know how your life can change in an instant…i was diagnosed with breast cancer in november, had surgery (double mastectomy, my surgeon thought i was being too agressive, he preferred the lumpectomy. but i stuck to my guns, and lucky for me (?) there was precancer found in the ‘good’ breast.) i am now doing chemo…will have 3 more months of that, then another drug for every 3 weeks for a year..
    i hoping you are finding some blessings among the life changes…i have the support of my family and friends, and my co-workers whom i consider my extended family.
    this is not how i envisioned spending my 58th birthday, which i celebrated on sunday…but it
    “is what it is” and so i deal with it…just as you are dealing with yours..i wish you a full recovery…i am working towards mine!

  18. #22

    My perspective…

    I have recently accepted that worrying about unrealistic expectations from people around me (or from myself) will only make me unhappy. Now I try to just look at them as just that – unrealistic. And I do what I do the best way I can, and that has to be good enough. 🙂

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