Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Today, I Live in a Slurpee

I woke up this morning to Monty the radio DJ listing off a series of cancellations. "Just about everything is canceled today due to this terrible storm," he said cheerfully over the airwaves. Then he mentioned UMass, which was only delayed until 11 am.

It had been snowing the previous evening and then the snow turned to heavy rain. I've never seen it pour so steadily in my life, but UMass was determined, despite all the adverse weather, to trudge through the slush. Determined to go to campus with the few brave and worthy students, I cleared off my car and drove to campus in what most closely matches the consistency of a Slurpee. Wet, icy, and uncontrolled, puddles of water with floating ice covered the ground unevenly. Snow is blocking the rain gutters and as a result has been flashing with a series of flood warnings.

When I got out of the car the weather was initially a little treacherous. After repeatedly and inadvertently dousing my pant leg in a high puddles though, I realized avoiding total submersion in the water was probably impossible. So rather than complain, as most New Englanders like to do when it feels like they're living in a brown Slurpee, I decided to embrace the weather. You only live once, right?

I put my belongings in a safe, dry place, and allowed myself the type of pleasure kids only dream about. At first the water was unbearably cold, but after awhile my skin reddened with numbness and my clothes began to function as a wet suit. I slid, splashed, sped, and tumbled through the puddles with careless vigor. At one point my friends and I were half swimming through a particularly large Slurpee-like puddle and chortling uncontrollably. For the first time in a long time, I didn't have a care in the world. All my self imposed pressure to succeed was gone and every ounce of my body was filled with joy. Nothing mattered but the moment I was living at that instant, and it felt amazing.

As insignificant as it sounds to frolic through the rain, I think today reminded me of something important. Lately I've been tied to tangible results, success, and working toward achieving a series of specific goals. In all of that, I think part of me lost a sense of pure joy. It had been far too long since I had completely freed myself from what I expect out of myself. Nothing will ever prevent me from losing sight of my goals, but today I realized that no accomplishment really matters if it makes you lose sight of your identity and happiness. It's important to have goals, but it's even more crucial to make sure your goals don't replace who you are as an individual. So here's to living in a Slurpee, if even for a day. I think it was enough to remind me of the importance of letting yourself go with uninhibited pleasure.

I began applying my new perspective by wading through knee high water to help a stranger who was floating in a puddle in her minivan. I pushed her about 100 feet to a parking spot and although she was in a tough situation, we had a great time. Today has me on top of the world, so here's to living in a Slurpee.


In honor of a sophisticated and feel good band, I'll recommend The Bird and the Bee today. They have an EP called "Too Many Hearts" coming out tomorrow for Valentines Day, so enjoy. This video is a little bizarre, but the song is brilliant, so check them out.