I have friends who enjoy the cold and others who don’t. I’m somewhere in between. As long as I’m dressed warmly, I enjoy the freshness of the air that seems to be missing in hot summer. When I talked a couple of weeks ago to my oldest daughter, Krista, who lives in St. Paul, Minn., she happened to mention it was minus 10 that day. I think my comment was something about hoping they were staying warm. "It’s not that bad,” she said, "It is minus 10 without wind chill, but this place is so set up for it. Sebastian (her 10-year-old son) was outside all day Saturday and Sunday ice skating and playing hockey with friends. I couldn’t get him to come in. We just bundle up, and nothing closes unless there’s a blizzard, and even then everything reopens as soon as the snow ends. Minnesota makes you hardy.” I thought about the icy cold times in each of our lives when we want to withdraw, stay inside and huddle by the fire, trying to avoid the pain — a health crisis, a relationship that ends, an estrangement with a family member, a misunderstanding with a friend, a job loss or the death of a loved one. There always comes the day, however, when we realize we have to bundle up and go out despite the cold and get back into the game of life. When I look back on my own desperately cold times, I realize, like Krista said of Minnesota winters, they have simply made me hardy. I do not look forward to difficulties, but I understand I am strong enough to face them. Living a full life, regardless of the number of years, is to reach a point where we accept the changes that come rather than protesting them for the rest of our days. As an Alzheimer’s family member once told me, "You have to say goodbye to the way it was, so you can say hello to the way it is now.” When faced with voluntary or involuntary transitions, author Deborah Stephens says: "There is good news. We’re in charge. Help exists.” To remember that is to move from "Woe is me!” to "What can I do now?” Like Sebastian and his friends braving the bitter cold to play sports together, we, too, must brave the raw pain that threatens to engulf us — and keep showing up for life. Charlotte Lankard is a marriage and family therapist and director of the James L. Hall Center for Mind, Body and Spirit at Integris. Web site: www.charlottelankard.com.