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Jumping in puddles: Optimism on cloudy days

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I shook the water off of my umbrella and stashed it under my desk, plopping onto my bed with limbs splayed and eyes closed. It was day two of winter quarter, and I was exhausted. 48 consecutive hours of rainfall coupled with an overloaded “shopping period” schedule meant that by mid-afternoon on Tuesday, I wanted to do nothing but sleep until the sun finally revealed itself again.

I was mere seconds from finally dozing into my long-awaited nap when a knock on the door jolted me awake. My RA bounced a few feet into my room before his excited shout forced the last remnants of sleep from my mind.

“Hey! Do you wanna go jump in some puddles?”

No.

My instinct was to decline politely, citing some trite, fabricated excuse about not having rain boots or being seconds away from bolting for an afternoon meeting, internally admitting that I would rather just lie in bed and feel sorry for myself after a long day than voluntarily subject myself to the never-ending downpour. I’m still unsure whether it was FOMO or a lack of quality sleep talking, but I heard myself squeak a quiet, “Okay, sure,” and within seconds I had my Bean Boots laced up and my rain jacket off its hanger.

A few hallmates and I flipped hoods over our heads and dashed out into the street in hot pursuit of several other Twain residents in the Escondido turnaround. Suddenly, one of them plunged his boots down into a large puddle with full force, sending rainwater and mud droplets flying in every direction. My clothes already soaked, I exchanged a “why not?” smile with a friend before we followed along, hopping into a rain-filled pothole with abandon.

Twenty minutes later, after having sought out everything even somewhat resembling a puddle, we headed back indoors to hang our clothes over the radiator and bundle up in dry, warm alternatives. I toweled the raindrops off of my face and tugged on multiple pairs of socks, feeling simultaneously more tired and more invigorated than I had half an hour prior. As I imagined the possibility of a perpetually rainy winter quarter, visions of trudging to class under my trusty umbrella were now punctuated with childlike laughter as I raced my friends to find new puddles with which to splash each other.

Glancing out the window, I noticed the sun peek through a crack in the clouds, piercing the all-encompassing grey. Despite the fact that the cold seemed to have settled into my bones, I couldn’t help but think that the drizzly sky was the tiniest bit pretty. Though I never thought I’d say it, jumping in puddles is a little like life that way — when it feels like the rain might never let up, sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective to convince you that it can’t ever be all bad.

 

Contact Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

 

Jackie O'Neil '21 is the Managing Editor of the Grind. She's a Richmond, Virginia native who loves constitutional history, pretending to be a serious triathlete, waking up at the crack of dawn and Gilmore Girls – in no particular order. Contact her at jroneil 'at' stanford.edu.