When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you were awed by something unfamiliar and new?
I was 17 years old when I told myself never to allow my future self to fall into mediocrity or apathy. I had no idea what lay ahead, and it was so easy to make promises that sounded easy enough to accomplish, given the circumstances I have always known. I used to have what jaded people call the mythical drive to be someone who does something important with her life.
What I didn’t know is that there will be events in my life that will terrify me, will break me and unglue me. I didn’t know it will take me preternatural effort to pull myself together and use all my energy to impede self-implosion. I didn’t know how safe Mediocrity could become to someone forced to evacuate her comfort zone.
I wish I had been one of those people whose reaction to grief was to push forward, climb mountains and tame lions. My nature and nurture instinct was to pull the covers over my head instead. I retreated from Life, because it has become a scarier, surreal place where everything that made sense was turned upside down. I lived like this for years. I have wasted the latter part of my 20s tiptoeing around, trying not to rock the boat.
But there’s nothing like the freezing cold to wake up the senses. The last time I did something for the first time was to taste snow. The last thing that awed me was a mini-snowman with thumb tacks for eyes, peanut for a nose and stick for a mouth.
By some benevolent act of Fate and Faith, I found myself fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was 4 years old. To touch, feel, be in the snow. I could’ve held snow in Korea or China or Japan. But none of them would resonate with me by aligning the two things I have always wanted to do. Snow in London is a league of its own, at least to me. It’s the best of my best daydreams. It was unbelievable to the point of miraculous. You know how some virgins say it matters who and how your first is? If you wanted Ryan Gosling to be the first, and you want it to be awesome, but life could only afford you either Ryan Gosling or awesome and never both, wouldn’t you feel the tiniest bit of regret? Well, imagine how it felt for me to have both Gosling and awesomeness.
Standing in the middle of a surprise snowstorm in the heart of London was the wake up call I needed. Finally, I realized it’s time to shake off the bed covers, comb my hair, brush my teeth and venture into the new breakfast season of my life. And breakfast is always awesome.
I have been broken, terrified and unglued. But I have survived by allowing and recognizing the small miracles in my life. In terms of a life well-lived, I may have lost some time, but I never lost the path.