My time is always tight. I generally like to work on Sunday to get prepared for the week. Today was no different, I got up made coffee and dug into work.
When a text interrupted me I found myself longing to be outside, it was a warm -6 today after the frigid -19 of last week, a welcome change. The sun was high and bright in the sky. I finally shut my laptop and headed off to the river front park for a quick bit of fresh air.
I took the long way round, walking thru the trees along side the creek. There is a large fast running river on one side and a shallow creek that runs into a large pond in the park on the other side.
As I walked I noticed some people skating on the frozen creek bed and immediately I thought
“I gotta get some skates”
For a moment I felt sad, I was alone, in a park filled with people together. Not that being alone is a problem for me, I do most things alone. But there was something about that park, looking like a postcard, filled with families and dogs and lovers that brought some sadness to my space.
I shrugged it off, cranked my tunes and carried on thoroughly enjoying my walk. My cozy boots crunching on the snow, the fresh breeze peppering the skin on my cheeks, I just felt alive.
Rounding the bend and coming towards the pond I noticed that the entire pond was frozen and filled with happy skaters and large fire pits with benches. As I moved toward the public common I noticed that there were curling rinks set off to one side as well.
I became so excited to see all of this. Not being from the area, I had no idea all this was going on in my favorite park in the winter months!
Then I saw it, on the way to the loo, the big sign for skate rentals, of course there were rentals, I don’t know why I did not realize that sooner. My brain fully acknowledged the opportunity to go skating, right there and then but still some part of me said “should come back next week and try the skating”
Some little part of me, the part of me that knew I really wanted to go skating hollered back “you always say next week”! That voice, likely the 6 year old me, was right. I wondered why do I always do that? Then I chose to do it differently today.
I went directly from the loo to the lineup for skates. When I realized they only had boy’s skates and not the figure skates I had learned with….I almost let that rational voice win.
Unreasonably nervous, wondering how I was going to go with these skates. Would it be like not knowing how to skate at all? I hoped not because I had nothing to hold onto at this point.
In my minds eye, I pushed aside the doubt and watched myself gliding down the rivers path thru the trees, the cold air slapping at me. That was enough to propel me forward.
Navigating my way to the rubber ramp that gave access to the ice, I chucked as I was moving slower than the 4 year old in front of me. I was a bit self conscious so I just plugged in my tunes and went for it.
Less than 5 yards from the ramp I went down with a flurry! Down, rolled and skidded, these boy skates are not at all like figure skates! They have no picks at the front to stop and the blade is not long enough to allow for easy balance!
Undeterred, I got to my feet and slowly learned how to skate on those things. I plodded down the creek, came back a bit faster and when I entered the main area I decided to go all the way to the end despite the slow ache in my ankles.
I was starting to feel confidant, going faster, possibly even standing up straight.
But it was on the way back across that pond that something happened. As I pushed harder on those blades, dug them into the ice propelling myself forward, I realized that I did not know how to stop….
That thought was overpowered by this crazy feeling of strength and accomplishment I had. I could feel this wonderful power surging thru me, I realized I was going really fast and there were people everywhere!
I could not stop myself (literally) all of a sudden I realized what had overcome me was pure unadulterated joy! I was so f*in happy in that moment that I wanted for nothing else, just that, the joy of it all.
I skated past that ramp like a pro and back out onto the river, I skated until my ankles were screaming.
Tomorrow I will pay for that joy, no high heels I suspect. It was all worth it and more.
I suspect that joy is a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to be experienced in a powerful way.
I hope for your joy muscle, the next time you hear yourself say “next weekend” your 6 year old self will win and you too can experience more joy!