As we round out the first month of this shiny-if-not-still-perfect new year, many of us have had the opportunity already to enjoy multiple vacations. Some were on purpose over New Year’s Day and the holidays, and some came as a pleasant surprise, thanks to the widespread blanket of snow provided last week by a winter storm. We have seen parties, pajamas, pancakes, and about a million snow selfies thanks to the modern marvel that is social media.
Now the other shoe drops. As the snow is clearing and the breaks are coming to an end, I keep seeing the same sad message posted over and over again: “Well, back to reality…” But is it, though? Is our normal routine the true definition of reality, or could it be that daily life itself is the illusion?
Let’s have a closer look at Snow Days vs. regular days and see how they match up.
(Note: Gross generalizations follow; feel free to replace them with your own experiences. Also, weekends don’t count as regular days, in case that had to be said.)
On a regular day, food is what happens between activities and obligations. We grab drive-thru on our way to work, toss some processed and pre-formed freezer meals or (God help us) Lunchables into a bag for midday, and throw together whatever is quickest and least guilt-inducing for supper – not to mention all the caffeine we keep infusing just to make it through on pace. Sure, we have phases of entree salads and crock pot meals, but I’d say those are balanced out by the days when we just can’t, so we eat out for all three meals.
On a Snow Day, food is an act of love. As evidenced by the empty aisles at the grocery store, we prepare for every possible nutritional need or desire on a Snow Day. French toast with bacon and strawberries, heaping pots of chili that simmer for hours, s’mores and piles of homemade sugar cookies…nothing is too good for our loved ones and ourselves. The kitchen becomes a veritable playground for reviving old traditions, trying new things, and turning nutrition into an art form.
Family and Relationships
On a regular day, relationships are something we dream about or long for or miss. In order to pay the bills or build the career, we are often leaving behind someone else we’d rather be with. Meanwhile, we’re surrounded by secondary relationships with others who are forced into our circles by circumstance and equally wish they were home with someone else. We’re all just trying to smile and make the best of it and love the ones we’re with.
On a Snow Day, relationships are right there in our faces, whether we like it or not. We wake together, eat together, build snowmen together, go through our entire TiVo library together, get bored together, get irritated together, sleep together… Okay, it’s a lot of togetherness, maybe too much after a while. But the thing is, we’re connected. We know what’s going on with each other, and we have the time and opportunity to share if we want to. Plus, we can’t run away from each other when it gets difficult.
On a regular day, we don’t have much fun; we function. We’re busy. We’re worried. We’re doing the grind and bringing home the bacon and recovering from doing the grind and bringing home the bacon. Maybe we catch a good song on the car radio, make a silly face over dinner with the kids, or divert our attention with a little Facebook, and those moments are nice but they’re truly not enough.
On a Snow Day, we can barely function because we’re having so much fun! Want to take advantage of the day off and sleep in? Can’t, because the kids are jumping on your head to go look at the snow, play in the snow, take the animals out in the snow! Need us to shovel the driveway? Okay, but we’re totally just going to snowboard back down it when we’re done – or even before then! Think you’re going to catch up on some work or chores? Can’t, because there are piles of snowy outerwear strewn all over the house! It’s a soggy, beautiful, mad mess all the day long.
On a regular day, free time is…wait, free time? What is that?
On a Snow Day, we are given the gift of a mandatory Sabbath. We’re stopping to look at the sky. We’re getting outside and appreciating nature. We’re taking time for the things that energize us and the people we love. Our routines are broken, our fallbacks are shaken up, and we only have ourselves and whatever we brought with us into the day. We are at rest…if not well rested.
On a regular day, we do what is necessary.
On a Snow Day, we do what we were made for.
THAT is the real life. It’s okay not to want to leave it.
(originally posted 01/16)