It’s March 2nd, and it’s -27 degrees Celsius outside.

Minus. Twenty. Seven.

And I ain’t even mad. Maybe I should be. I mean, technically spring is only three weeks away.

But I’m not. I’m not because I know that spring on the Canadian prairies – our real spring – comes when it’s good and ready. Not before. Sometimes spring here is in sync with what you will find in other climes, but more often than not it comes around the end of April – or May. In its own time. And it will come. You can’t stop change, and you can’t stop the passage of time; and that’s a good thing. Time marches on. Change will come.

I’m not mad because: perspective. It’s not -37, which we had a few weeks ago. Compared to that -27 feels downright balmy. Minus twenty seven is cold, but it could be colder. Things could be worse, and although everyone likes to complain about the weather (it’s a national pastime in Canada), there are a lot of things that I can’t complain about. I have plenty to be grateful for. I have a roof over my head. I don’t worry about where my next meal is coming from. I live in a part of the world that has a high standard of living. A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to take a hot holiday with my fiancé and her two amazing kids (who I now feel are also my amazing kids, which is another bonus). For a week I got to enjoy plus twenty seven degrees Celsius, and it was a wonderful break from the monotonous cold that is Manitoba in February. In my house I have a hot tub to soak in on cold days like today; and believe me, I am taking full advantage of it! Don’t let your “first world problems” be bigger than they really are.

I’m not mad because I know that good things come to those who wait. I understand that such a sweeping statement doesn’t apply to every bad situation. Not when it’s taken literally. If there’s something about your life that you’re unhappy with – your habits, a situation at work, a problem with your spouse or significant other – you can’t passively sit by and expect that things will miraculously improve on their own. You’ve got to take ownership of the situation and do what you can to make it better, but bad times will pass. No matter how long it takes, they always do; and when they’ve gone by and their sting has faded we often wonder what all the fuss and worry was about. That day when you’re short staffed, and every client is demanding, and every case seems to be so much more complicated than it should be will come to a close. That time apart from your loved ones won’t last forever – you will see their smiling faces and feel their warm, loving embrace again. Tomorrow will be better. Warmer days will come.

I’m not mad because I know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (except bears – bears will kill you dead). When we endure through the bad times, when we weather the storm, when we persevere, when spring finally comes; we are better for it. We appreciate the good so much more when we’ve gone through the bad. Knowing how bad it can get allows us to be more grateful for the good times. We also get to look back and celebrate the fact that we were able to face whatever adversity was put in our way and come through it. We may be a bit dusty and scuffed up, but we survived. We can take that and use it to boost our self-confidence and self-awareness. We’re more experienced. We’re smarter. We’re better equipped to handle it the next time (or we can make sure there isn’t a next time). And we can use it to help others. We can pass on what we’ve learned to others so that their path – their journey – is less arduous than ours was.

I’m not mad because I know that there’s no sense in worrying about what you can’t control. I can’t control the weather. I can’t change the fact that it’s minus. Twenty. Seven. Celsius. But I can adapt, and because I’ve been through such cold weather before I can be prepared. I bundle up more when I’m outside. I take precautions to make sure my horses have adequate food, water, and shelter. I keep my car inside a warm garage when I can, and I plug it in when I can’t (yes people, there are parts of the world where we actually plug our cars in to keep them warm).

I can also focus on what I can control. The biggest thing I can control is my attitude and how I react to the situation. I can’t go outside for a long walk (OK, I could with enough warm layers of clothing, but I don’t really want to…), but I can stay in and catch up on some reading, watch a movie, or just sit in my rocking chair with a hot cup of tea and a cat or two (or three…) on my lap to keep me warm.

You can’t control every bad situation that pops up at work. You can’t control what other people are at times going to think, say, or do that leads to problems for you. But you can control your attitude towards those situations and those people. You can learn how to deal with those situations and people better; and in doing so, you can ensure that the next time the situation will be handled better – or you can prevent that negative situation in the first place.

Who knew there were so many things to be learned from a cold winter’s day? Well, if you’re looking for them that’s what this vet sees. Maintain perspective. Be patient. Be responsible. Be grateful. Learn. Help others. Adapt. Prepare. Control your attitude. Also, some people plug their cars in to keep them warm, and bears will kill you dead.

Time marches on. Change will come. Who wants to stay the same anyhow? Not me. If you’re not changing you’re not growing. Sometimes the change and growth are slower than I’d like, but I can be patient. I know spring will come. I can feel more warmth in the sunlight now streaming through my window than it seemed to have just a week ago. Plus, while I wait I’ve got a hot cup of tea, and a cat purring in my lap, and… Oh! Would you look at that – now it’s minus 26…

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial team.

Dr. Jay Thrush


Dr. Jay Thrush currently resides on a small farm just outside of Brandon Manitoba where he owns the small animal practice in which he has worked since becoming a veterinarian 25 years ago. After being in practice for so long, he feels as though he may finally be getting the hang of it; however, he still considers himself to be a work in progress. He enjoys problem-solving and working with his hands – attributes he puts to use in his favorite activities – performing surgery, building and repairing things, and tinkering with anything mechanical.