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Pressing Pause

By Maheshwari Rajesh

Yesterday was a snow day (as I write this). Like an honest-to-god snow day in Central Texas; it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a miracle. So, obviously, I decided to write about it..

Okay, I’m not really here to talk about snow. Yes, it was fantastic—the snowballs, the snowmen, and the...well snow—but it also my snow day acted as a reality check. I spent hours playing with my sister outside, and it wasn’t because it was an extracurricular or a task someone had asked of me. I pressed pause on my impending piles of homework, simply because I wanted to catch snowflakes on my tongue. It was winter’s version of stopping to smell the roses.

And you know the saddest thing about all of this? I can’t for the life of me remember when I last did that. You know, watched the sun rise because I actually wanted to, not because I woke up early for school. Or closed my eyes in the shower just to take a deep breath.

I’m not a huge fan of running, but it seems like that’s what my life has consisted of recently. Figuratively speaking, of course. I’m running away from my past embarrassments, wiping them from my mind so they won’t haunt me in my sleep. I’m running away from living in the present, the right-now, because I’m so worried about my SATs, AP tests, and college admissions. But sometimes, even thinking about the future is so stressful, so I’m, once again, running away. I’m running from society because, to them, focusing on studying for a test to get into college happens to be more important than considering which college I actually want to go to.

I know I’m not the only one. There are so many of us, trapped in our self-imposed hamster wheel, just running until we can’t anymore. School doesn’t teach us how to deal with this: Sure, they might offer advice, but, in the end, what they want for us is to keep running, pushing, and never burning out. And that’s virtually impossible.

So, I implore you to find your own snow day. Look for time—and if you can’t, then make time—to have actual fun, building a snowman while your fingers are freezing off (because it’s Central Texas so why would you need snow gear?). No, but seriously, I want you to do that and freeze. Capture that moment and lock it in your heart, so even if you wanted to forget it, your body knows what it feels like. Then ask yourself—what kind of life do you want to live? Slogging your body and mind till you drop, or taking a moment to sometimes stop and enjoy?

Without giving ourselves reminders of what appreciating the world around us feels like, we take what we have for granted. And the moment those things may leave us, that’s when we really start to notice it. That’s why I go crazy over a snow day—because it never happens. I haven’t played games outside with my sister since middle school, but yesterday I did. The snow day became a reminder of what I’d been missing, not necessarily the snow, but the idea of living a life where every day doesn’t blur into the next. It was a reminder that sometimes all I needed was a break.


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