All It Takes

Winter used to be my favorite season.

When I was younger, I loved snow, hot chocolate, Christmas specials on TV, getting all bundled up to go out and play, having days off of school… everything about winter, I enjoyed. But winter, I’ve discovered, is more of a child’s season. Because when you become an adult, winter means shoveling, driving in occasionally hazardous conditions, higher bills, stressful seasons at work (depending on what you do), perpetually dry skin, among a myriad of other concerns.

Now that I am no longer a carefree child, I’ve come to hate winter. Part of this hatred can be attributed to the ridiculous snows I experienced while attending college in New England, but regardless, winter has dropped from my favorite season to my absolute least favorite over the span of a few years. So, this time of year, especially in January and February, it doesn’t take much for my mood to take a total nosedive. Winter just really gets me down, man. It sucks.

But sometimes, a flicker of something bright chases the winter gloom away.

There are days when I wake up at 5AM, my room is an icebox (thank you, inconveniently positioned heating vents) and all I want to do is snuggle back beneath my blankets, forget all of my responsibilities, and lay in bed all day reading, sipping coffee, writing, and keeping warm. Alas, life doesn’t quite work that way, so typically, I drag myself out of bed, tug on some fuzzy socks to keep my toes from freezing, and get ready to be a functional adult. Well… semi-functional, really.

This past weekend, I had early shifts at work, so, on Saturday, I hauled myself out of bed, got ready, and departed for work at approximately 5:25AM. En route to work, I munched on a corn muffin (A.K.A, my kryptonite) and decided to turn on the radio to see what early-morning tunes were playing, hoping that something might chase the before-dawn winter glumness away. And it just so happened that, amidst the repetitive drone of Top 40 hits, one bright glimmer of marvelous 90’s nostalgia began to radiate from my speakers…

Hey, now, you’re an All Star, get your game on, go play,
Hey, now, you’re a rock star, get the show on, get paid,
And all that glitters is gold,
Only shooting stars break the mold…

Some may remember Smash Mouth’s 1999 hit “All Star” from the animated film Shrek. Or, in certain circles, from that time they used it in one of the Digimon movies. I know it from both, because I grew up in that era, but that’s not the point… the pint is that it’s not a song that one typically hears on the radio these days, even though it’s excellent.

But for some reason, at 5:30AM on a blustery Saturday in February, one of the local radio stations decided that early morning commuters like myself needed to be told that there’s so much to do, so much to see, and there’s nothing wrong with taking the back streets.

On a cold winter morning, “All Star” is exactly the song that I needed to hear. With the lyrics still ringing in my head, I waltzed into work and proceeded to get my game on, forgetting all about the bitter cold and general unpleasantness of winter. And the next morning, as I was driving to work yet again, I turned on the radio and THEY PLAYED IT AGAIN. I got to jam out to Smash Mouth twice in one weekend! Lightning sometimes DOES strike twice!

Sometimes, all it takes to lift your mood is a little reminder that you can BE an All Star, even if you often don’t feel like it. Because, after all, the years start coming and they don’t stop coming, and life’s too short to dwell on the negative. Look for the bright spots in the darkness, and use that light to pull you up when the shadows try and drag you down…. and remember, you’ll never know if you don’t go, and you’ll never shine if you don’t glow.

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