It’s Winterfest in the Hallmark world and plain ole winter in the real world. Either way, it’s the season of snow, ice skating, skiing, hot chocolate, and fun activities that help us celebrate the wintry chill in the air. I, however, embraced my first Winterfest adventure—ice skating—rather reluctantly. So much so that one might call it un-Hallmark-esque.
In a Hallmark movie, everyone carries on smiling as they lace up their skates and glide out onto the ice. It’s probably because they are either skating with an attractive partner in a situation that is most definitely a date (despite the pair claiming otherwise), or, as the Deck the Hallmark podcast is prone to point out, the actors are not really ice skating (since the camera only shows them from the waist up), so there is no fear of falling. In Real Life I was most definitely not on a romantic date—although I was out with girlfriends—and I was actually doing the ice skating, so there was a real fear of falling.
It’s been almost 20 years since the last ice skating session (see previous post here), and although I’m not as nimble as I once was, I had made it an item on my Best Christmas Ever To-Do List (one I still had to check off on my list here) and I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to enjoy a spin around New York City’s Bryant Park Winter Village Rink with friends. Nervous that I was going to land flat on my bottom, I was skittish about renting skates and almost said I’d watch from the bar, but the whole point of these Hallmark in Real Life adventures is to experience them in Real Life and do things that I ordinarily might avoid.
So I laced those skates up and slowly hobbled over the carpet to stand next to my friends, two ice skating natives who came equipped with their very own skates—one a Canadian who was basically born playing ice hockey, and the other from upstate New York who grew up skating on a pond. With their encouragement and a few tips, I made my way onto the ice and hesitantly began skating. Then, a funny thing happened…I really, honest to goodness loved it. I didn’t love all the little kids whizzing by me and cutting me off, but the more I gave myself space to ignore the chaos around me and focus on what I could control, gliding one foot and then the other, I got into a rhythm and let go.
As a beginner I was very focused on my feet, but every now and then I would look up. As I took in my surroundings—the colored lights of the skyscrapers around me, including the Empire State Building, amidst the backdrop of the New York Public Library—a wave of gratitude overcame me. I felt so lucky to be doing this cold weather activity on a clear night with good friends in such an amazing location.
In celebration of winter and Hallmark’s Winterfest, I hope you, too, will try something new and maybe, like me, it will be better than you could have ever imagined.