Everybody’s free (to frolick in the snow).
Tonight we experienced a rare and surprisingly extensive snow flurry. Refusing to let the opportunity to enjoy such a delicacy go to waste, I ventured outside to see what mother nature had conjured up. I was not disappointed.
A white pillowy blanket covered the world around me. Streets, cars, trees, houses; everything was completely swaddled by the snow. I did the only thing that felt right: I walked. I hit the nearest sidewalk and just started going. Free of obligations, I blazed a trail down the street without a single goal or feeling of stress in my mind. When I saw a road that felt right to turn on, I took it. When I felt like dropping and making a snow angel, I carved it.
I did this for a half hour, only coming back home to put on warmer clothes to allow me to expand my excursion. Upon returning outside, I was greeted with an even thicker confetti of snow floating all around me. I stood under a street lamp and watched for a good 20 or 30 minutes as the snow blew around. Left to right, right to left, up and down, in a circle…At one point, the snow all seemed to stand still in mid air, and for a brief moment it felt like life had just…frozen in time (no pun intended…just kidding, pun totally intended).
It was at that moment when life felt frozen that I realized I had been lost in thought for almost half an hour. Just standing there staring upwards into the sky, I meditatively watched the snow. Felt it move around me. There was no warm or cold. There was no happy or sad. There was just me and the snow sharing a moment where we both existed alongside each other. Life’s problems all felt trivial, and the snow didn’t worry that it was nearing the end of its journey and would soon reach its final destination.
It’s difficult to find moments like this. I hear it a lot when I read about mindfulness. Meditation, I’ve heard, is a way to achieve a similar feeling to what I experienced. Ultimately I’ve found that without meditation, the best way for me to achieve such a feeling is to simply be present. I could have spent tonight inside playing video games, reading, sleeping, or working. All things I considered doing. I almost spent tonight in the snow with a friend, which would have been a lot of fun. But if I had done any of those things, I would not have been able to do the one thing that truly set me free tonight: frolicking in the snow.
Near the end of my walk, I wasn’t quite ready to be done. Though I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers, it felt like I was a band coming out for an encore, rather than one that had just completed its final song for the night. I put on the song Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen) and crossed the street into a neighborhood I’ve never been to before. Without tracks on the street, I knew I was the first one of the night to venture out into the calming white landscape ahead of me.
Without conscious thought, my stride transformed into a skip. Down the street I went! In circles. Left to right. I acted out the lyrics as they bore away at my soul, tugging on my heartstrings and reminding me of so many aspects of life that I take for granted. Do I really appreciate my able, youthful body and appearance? Am I close enough with my parents and siblings? Do I put too much emphasis on caring what other people think? (Hint: Yes, I do). As the song’s words danced with the neurons in the synapses of my brain, I danced with myself with nobody else around. I spun in circles and jumped in the air. I laughed and sang and joyously did whatever movement felt right in that moment. I frolicked.
Frolicking doesn’t come naturally to many people, myself included. For some, frolicking has to be forced, but once beginning becomes much easier. For others, frolicking may seem like a waste of time; pointless and stupid. Why waste time frolicking when one could be productive? Or watch a nice tv show/movie? Or listen to music? Or do homework? Or do work? If you’re one who doesn’t find joy in frolicking, at this point you’re probably thinking “Yeah, that’s definitely a Cory thing, but not a me thing. I like watching tv, and I am comfortable being warm. Why would I stupidly dance around in the frigid weather for a few minutes when I could watch it from the safety of my comfy toasty living room?” to which I respond: “why not?”
The thing is, frolicking doesn’t need to be jumping and dancing and running in the snow. It doesn’t need to be crazy or spontaneous or some outlandish crazy trek to discover one’s true self. The point of frolicking is that there is no purpose. There is no inherent benefit or cost to frolicking, but by letting go of your trepidations and embracing the parts of you deep down that long to be free to just exist, you are opening up a world of opportunity to let your mind wander places it has never felt comfortable existing before.
“Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long. And in the end, it’s only with yourself.” It’s so easy to get caught up with all that we have to deal with in our lives. Remember to slow down and appreciate what you have, even if you feel all you have is the ability to get out of bed in the morning despite feeling it is pointless to do so sometimes. Frolicking puts life on pause, freeing you of obligations and opening you up to a world of possibilities. So now I leave it to you. Go frolick. Go exist. Go let yourself do what feels right, free of judgment, criticism, and obligation. When you’re done, let me know how it felt.
“Enjoy your body…use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It is the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.”