Icy Conditions

I actually love winter. (Actually, I love all four seasons.) I always find the snow beautiful to look at and fun to play in. I love layering up and wearing dress coats and berets and pretending I’m an important and successful person – although I only changed my pants to go outside. I don’t find the frigid temperatures alarming and don’t feel the need to complain unless it leads to friendly small talk.

But if there’s one thing that I purposefully avoid during the winter, it’s the ice. I hate having to walk on it because I hate slipping and falling. I was one of those kids you saw on the rink who was holding onto the teacher, a friend, a pylon, a chair, or the wall. Rarely did I step away from my precious lifeline and actually try to skate by myself. I had chalked it up to the skates squeezing my wide feet to death, my non-Canadian-born parents being unable to pass on the skating gene, and eventually just my overall incompetence.

It’s funny – I always watch figure skating and hockey during the Olympics. The way they so gracefully yet dangerously whiz across the ice as they perform a triple toe or knock out some hoser’s tooth. It’s so fun to watch. And it would be so much more fun to actually do.

One of my all-time favourite moments on Parks and Recreation happens in season 4, when Leslie Knope is just starting to campaign for city council. She relies on her Parks team for an event and, naturally, it’s a disaster. The basketball court is converted to an ice rink, and they can’t afford enough red carpet to take Leslie to the podium. I don’t know why, but she makes the trip on the ice anyway – wearing heels! (I’m doing a terrible job at explaining this, so here‘s a link for you to watch. It’s amazing.)

Whoops, I lost my train of thought. I had gone from watching that Parks and Rec clip to a clip of Chris Traeger performing air banjo and then to Tom Haverford singing to Ann Perkins and then I realized I should get back to this post. (And that’s how you do a transition when you’re stuck!)

I’ve realized, though, that I wasn’t as afraid of falling down than the actual sensation of losing my balance of being on two feet. I know that I can get up again after I fall. Of course. But I don’t like the act of falling. When I had realized this, I also realized that this is how I approach life.

There’s (metaphorical) ice everywhere. You can’t help it. It’s down the path you want to go, it surrounds you on all sides so there’s no safe way to get anywhere, and there’s really nothing you can do about it other than cross it. I mean, why would you waste your time and energy trying to chip the ice away when you know it’s going to show up again? So you toughen up, gather your courage, and keep going. You’ll probably fall, and that’s normal. You’ll actually want to fall so you can realize that it’s not so bad as long as you can get up again. Eventually, you’ll go from walking in heels to gliding in skates. Ice can be fun. It can be exhilarating. You just have to give it a try.

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