As I sit here listening to the rain pour outside my hostel window in Christchurch, I can’t help but feel content.
Yes, I said content. Not sad, not anxious. It’s been raining for the past 2 days straight, and by the looks of it, will continue to do so for the next 3. Of course, it started right when we ventured towards Mount Cook – the highest mountain in New Zealand. This was the place I looked most forward to visiting when booking my trip to NZ. In this weather, one could say that the mountain loses its majestic charm. It’s been covered in a thicket of fog and such dreary clouds that it’s certainly not living up to even half its +3,700 meter (12,000 ft) height.
The clear blue water in the surrounding lakes looks a bit less blue, gray even. The lavender fields look lonely without flocks of tourists posing in their pathways. The hiking trails are slippery with wet slate. I could rattle off a list of things that just don’t look as pretty as they do in the shiny brochures or filtered photographs of Instagram.
Or I could change my perspective.
In the rain, Mount Cook is majestic in a different way. The overcast skies turn Aoraki National Park into a faraway fairytale – casting a gray sheen over the unadulterated landscape that makes the grass look somehow greener. Being able to travel and experience hands down the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to has been nothing short of epic…bad weather, and all.
In the same way that people from home say they love having four seasons – so the long, cold nights of winter lead to a stronger appreciation of a warm, summer sunset – I am learning to appreciate the volatility of things I cannot control.
Weather changes with or without your consent. Just the other day I was watching a breathtaking sunset in Queenstown. The brightest pink and orange streaks enveloped the sky as if I’d stepped into a painting.
But today? Quite literally, I’m dancing in the rain.
In fact, we went white water rafting in it. We plummeted down the Class 5 rapids of the Rangitata River without falling over – not bad for a Wednesday, huh?
Sure, the glacial water didn’t look as picturesque. But it was still quite clear, and definitely quite cold. How many people can say they’ve gone swimming in glacial water? Just a few days after sunbathing and swimming at the beach?
Maybe you’re one of those who can’t. At least not today. You’re sitting at your desk right now and reading this article – you’ll get back to work in just a few minutes. But you can still take this quote to heart in so many different ways.
No matter what city you’re in, or country for that matter, this idea of “dancing in the rain” can be taken as literally as an unexpected monsoon during a music festival (which, by the way, wind up being the most fun days in the end because everyone’s a muddy mess of concertgoers actually appreciating the music more than they are waving their iPhones around and recording it). Or, maybe it’s snowing madly outside and you’re cooped up indoors for the weekend. Take it as a chance to cozy up with your roommates or family for a nice game of cards and share a cup of tea.
Weather scenarios aside, this quote is all about your outlook on life.
Are you a glass-half-full kind of person, or glass half empty? Do you know what it means to embrace the journey and stop worrying about the bad things that are undoubtedly going to happen from time to time? If bad things, or weather, didn’t happen, how else would we appreciate the good?
Before I mentioned briefly that I’m in Christchurch. It’s a city that may not be New Zealand’s #1 selling point, but it rebuilt its self from the ground up after an earthquake in 2011. Just to put things in perspective, I graduated from high school in 2011. Here is a whole city that just started from scratch in those 7 years. All I can say is wow. If that doesn’t add a whole new lens to “Dancing in the rain” then I don’t know what does.
So whatever you do today, big or small – try not to let those things you can’t control influence how you choose to spend your time. Are you too afraid to jump in the potentially figurative glacial water because you might get cold? Do it anyway. It’s very easy for us to worry, complain, and get anxious. But it’s always so much harder to appreciate, adapt and enjoy.
Onward and forward. In whatever kind of rain you may be experiencing.