Spring has sprung in Chicago, my friends. It's 53 degrees, there are buds on the trees, and all signs of a blizzard have been completely erased.
Every year, there is that pivotal first day of Spring weather that makes me feel different. I am reminded of my favorite spring. It is Spring 2006. I am a 19-year-old freshman at Elmhurst College, a small, liberal arts school nestled in the safety of Chicago suburbia. Elmhurst, IL is so beautiful in the spring, with its endless trees and beautiful flowers, all blossoming at the same time. That first year, the campus came alive again for me in the spring.
It is April. I am riding in a white truck with a senior. He is an actor, he is a popular frat boy, he has great taste in music and film, he is adorable...and he is driving me around, talking to me. Awkward, not yet grown into my face, and completely inexperienced ME. We are listening to Neko Case's "Star Witness" (which he has recently fallen in love with, causing my internal swooning to escalate to Bieber Fever levels). The sun's warmth casts a loving, protective glow over everything that passes out my open window. I am sipping delicious raspberry lemonade as the heavenly spring wind gently caresses my hair. I remove myself from the conversation and take a breath. This is life. This is adulthood. This is happiness.
Oh! how I forgot what it's like...
Neko's words cross my mind every spring. I get so caught up in the sadness of winter, the weight of it all, that I forget what comes next. I forget what it feels like to come out of the darkness and feel the warm embrace of spring's possibilities.
Spring's possibilities. I am filled with this idea every year. That first day when I remember that there are so many little things in life that are astoundingly great. Birds chirping. A quiet drive through your neighborhood. The condensation of a cold drink. Everything is magical and makes me feel young and alive. My brain races with thoughts, ideas, and plans. Nothing is out of my reach. At 19, the world was laid in front of me, waiting for me to overtake it with my brains, my wit, my pizazz, my energy. And every year, I am reminded that possibility isn't just for the 19-year-olds, for the college set. It is for all of us. The coming of spring gives each and every one of us that renewed sense of "watch out, world, here I come."
We have to embrace it and hold onto it. While I love that yearly reminder of what this moment feels like, I don't want it to be a feeling that fades and requires a reminder. I want to feel this feeling year-round, and I think I'm finally on the right path, the path that will give me springtime motivation year-round.
Oh! how I forgot what it's like.
Oh, how I forgot! And oh, how it feels to be ready.