When I was little, we had a copy of Michael Rosen’s wonderful children’s book illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, based on an old folk song. The story retains a sing-song quality, with a repetitive chant whenever the bear-hunting team (a dad and his three young kids) encountered a new obstacle: “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it!”

The title of this Friday’s piece by Fay Schaeffer, “Not Around But Through,” on embracing the solitude of wintertime, reminded me of that song. These aren’t easy days, and it doesn’t look like there are easy days coming in the immediate future. As I’ve weathered yet another lockdown, this time in a foreign country, I’ve often found myself grasping for ways to go around problems: to distract myself from worrying about my family or my country, to evade the boredom that increasingly creeps up as I stare at the same four walls, even sometimes to put relationships on hold because I’m emotionally overwhelmed.

Not to spoil the ending for you, but they don’t catch the bear in We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. In fact, the bear almost catches them! But as I was beginning to learn even way back then, going through difficult things can forge your identity. They can help you learn who you are and grow into who you are meant to be.

This week’s pieces help me change my mindset and see this time as a period of growth. Our “Dating Unscripted” story tells the tale of learning from an experience of making a mistake on a second date—and what the author learned about dating, and herself, from it. A reflection on personality change in your twenties sheds light on how our identity is always being formed by challenging experiences. A piece on shopping for fit is another angle on expressing who we really are, this time through what we wear. And we’ll also learn about how the winter season is the perfect time for growing moments in “Not Around But Through.”

Whatever is happening in your life at the moment, I wish you the courage to go through it.