By Rene Calalang
January 11, 2017
It’s that time of the season again. Old man winter is back. This coldest season of the year, which in northern latitudes officially begins on December 22 and ends on March 21, is here again to challenge us.
From my fellow Filipino Canadian Seniors, I have heard many not so nice complaints and stories about winter, and I totally disagree with them.
For me, winter is just another season, another three months of our normal life here, and regardless of where we come from, or born, we must make use of it.
To us, who come from tropical countries, winter can be a period of adjustment, loneliness, hibernation, and depression. Or it can be a period to do and try other things because of the availability of time.
Plenty of opportunities are available to enjoy winter. There are plenty of community centres around GTA that are offering lessons in ballroom and line dancing, as well as use of exercise machines, at a very minimal cost. Or you can just go there, join others for exercise sake. It is also an opportunity to meet different people of different colour, race and culture.
To some of us, it can be a period of learning new winter sports and recreation like skating and skiing - downhill and cross country. For me, none of these sports apply. I never try winter sports, although at times, I watch them on television. I always say to myself that I am too old to learn it, or it's too cold out there to play it.
To the tennis enthusiast, myself included, winter can mean indoor tennis. There are plenty of indoor courts available, whether private – which is very expensive and not too many of us can afford it, or public, which is subsidized by the government and therefore cheaper and affordable, and can be played in many sports and recreation complex like L’Amoreax in Scarborough, and Pickering Recreation Complex in Pickering. Also, many outdoor public courts, now covered with bubble(s) and converted into indoor courts are available.
There are Seniors Group out there whose objective is to keep Seniors healthy and busy, that were formed because of a grant from the government’s program called New Horizon. I guess, the government believes it is cheaper to keep the seniors active and healthy rather than to have them unhealthy.
In Scarborough alone, there is a group called Seniors in Action that offered line dancing, yoga and zumba classes at Pan Am Centre for a very minimal cost. Note that this was free last year (2016), courtesy of a government grant, but the grant was good for only one year. So, with a strong clamor from membership to continue, they decided to continue without government funding, which meant they have to raise their own funds. So last December 10, 2016, a very successful dinner dance was held at Q’ssis to finance it.
If you are a dance enthusiast and like to party - to practice, or show off your newly discovered skill, there are no shortages of dances, whether fundraising or not. Almost every week, all kinds of organization from all sorts of group of people are having their dinner-dances at a very reasonable price.
Winter can be a season to improve your golf game. Many driving ranges, covered with bubble(s) can be found in GTA. Of course, this is not cheap, but to those who can afford it, the facilities are available.
To some who have a place back home, or still have members of his/her family to stay, spending winter there is a great alternative. Of course, that’s assuming you are comfortable with the peace and order situation there.
To some who enjoy their job, and because there is no age restrictions anymore in working, just keep working. But is there a work now where there is no stress. That could be a miracle.
For me, aside from my full time work, playing indoor tennis, watching my grandson play hockey whenever they play in an arena close to our place, winter is also a season of furious writing to stack up on my inventory, so that come spring, summer and fall, I have more time for myself, my family and friends to enjoy and do other things. Or it can be a season to catch up on my reading because there are still plenty of books out there I intend to read. Or it can be the season to do some cleaning and clearing at home: recycling, packaging and sending some recycled, yet useful stuff, to poor relatives back home.
These are only some of the things we can do on winter. There are plenty more available.
So, you see there is no reason to get bored on winter. What you do depends on who you are, and what are your interests. But the possibilities are plenty.
There is no secret on how to enjoy winter. Keeping yourself active, busy and productive will offset all its negative effect.
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