I woke up out of sorts today. I have the day off and hadn't made any plans; I didn't feel like going out and being social, and even though I should have gone shopping for a few belated Christmas gifts for Jim's brother I just didn't feel like it. It has been snowing for two days straight, but this morning the sun was out, the sky was blue, and every twig on every limb on every tree was heavy with fresh, white snow. It is not often that I feel compelled to get out into the cold and enjoy a winter day, so when I am so inclined I act quickly before I get lazy and stay inside watching bad TV and surfing the internet.
Some of my best thinking has been done while walking outside. Some of my deepest thoughts have trickled into my consciousness slowly while I mindlessly move my limbs and propel myself forward. Today was the kind of day when I needed some kind of epiphany - it didn't have to be massive or life-altering, it just had to be meaningful.
I quickly threw together a play list on my iPod (appropriately titled "Moody Music") and off I went. The snow was beautiful and melting fast, so occasionally as I walked it would flutter down from the tree canopy and twinkle in the sunlight as it fell onto my face. It felt good, like being sprinkled with pixie dust or somehow anointed by nature, and it made me smile. I did miss having a dog at my side, but it felt good to move my body and I felt long disused muscles waking up. Some of those muscles were pretty pissed! My ass, for instance, was not loving it, but I ignored its protests and I told my creaky ankle to STFU as well. Soon enough they listened to me and I was able to concentrate on the crunch of snow under my boots, the sunlight and trees making patterns on unblemished fields of snow, and the quiet music in my ears.
What kind of New Englander would I be if I didn't summon Robert Frost on a walk such as this?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When I came to the place where I would normally turn back towards home, I kept going. I decided to just keep walking until I felt sorted out, however long that took. Turns out it took about two hours.
I'm not sure exactly where or when my epiphany struck, but before long I realized that something in me had lifted. You see, lately I haven't been myself. I've been wallowing in emotion and stewing in discord. I've been allowing myself to experience my fears as if they are real. I've been thinking too much and laughing too little. In short, I've been taking myself entirely too seriously.
Not every thought deserves to be analyzed. Some thoughts don't even deserve the time it takes to think them. During the course of a given day we experience a plethora of feelings; some of them are worthwhile, but some are not. I need to work on enjoying the good and ignoring the bad.
As my thighs turned numb from the cold and my nose started to run, I also found myself grateful for my body again. I'm so glad that I can walk for hours and climb hills and be rewarded with a nice view! My body sure isn't perfect, what with its bum thyroid and propensity to gain weight if someone so much as says "Carbs" in my vicinity, but it has given me so much pleasure in my life! How could I not be grateful?
Therein lay the epiphany, you see. I think I had forgotten to simply be grateful. Life is hard - no doubt about it - but everything worth working for is hard. Wasting time worrying over who said what and what-ifs won't help me embrace that which is essential to my happiness: love & gratitude. Loving myself, loving others, loving where I live, and even loving my crap job, which enables me to take long walks on a Wednesday morning to reconnect with myself and what's important to me.
Maybe it was the elusive "runner's high" that the skinny folks talk about, but by the time I came home I was elated. I felt like jumping into the 4 ft. high snowbanks and making snow angels. I waved cheerily at cars as they passed me. I let myself in to my quiet house that smells like my cooking and hung my coat on the hook that is reserved for my things, and I felt a discernible click as everything fell back into place in my world. Nothing has changed except my attitude, and that has made all the difference.