Growing up, each of us learned not to eat yellow snow one way or another. Maybe you listened to your mother when she said, “Don’t eat yellow snow!” in a strict tone of voice. Maybe you learned the hard way and couldn’t resist seeing what the big fuss was all about, so you grabbed a handful to try it out. Either way, we all know that eating yellow snow never leads to anything good, so we choose to avoid it all together. My question for each of us to consider is: if we all know that eating yellow snow will not make us any happier, why do we choose to have a bad attitude and “eat our own yellow snow?” Why not choose to be happy and avoid being upset, angry, annoyed, or stressed?
I learned this lesson in the beginning of January. I said “Bon voyage!” to my teammates as they departed for Washington D.C. and later Johannesburg, South Africa. Before they left, I kept reminding myself how many opportunities I had here at home while they were off traveling the world. I would be able to celebrate my mom’s birthday with her, go to the Brainerd FFA Chapter Lock-in, attend Ag Policy Experience and meet tons of cool FFA members and legislators, and catch up with my buddies from high school at Applebee’s. Once I began receiving texts and snapchats saying, “We’ve landed in Washington D.C.!” filled with big smiles and new friends they met on their adventure, my attitude changed. Rather than being happy for my teammates, I was sad and bitter that only 75 officers were selected to attend ILSSO and that I was not one of them. Every night, I would look through the photos on Facebook and Instagram and stories on Snapchat, feeling my heart break a little more as their memories kept adding up. Why wasn’t I lucky enough to go to South Africa? How come I had to stay home while they went on a once-in-a-lifetime international experience?
It was Day 12 of their trip and I had just gotten home from running errands in Willmar. I woke up sad that morning and had a “Poor Wendy” attitude all day long. When I pulled in my driveway, I glanced at my clock and saw that it was 4 o’clock, which happens to be my absolute least favorite time of day. I slammed my car door shut and began to trudge through the snow towards my house when I turned to look to the west, and boy am I grateful for what I saw. It was a sunset. I am an absolute sucker for a good sunset. So, instead of going inside and moping until my parents got home from work, I put on my snow pants, a hat, gloves, boots, and scarf and zipped up my jacket. I marched through our white-covered yard over to a large drift that had piled up in our tree grove and sat down to watch the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in a long time. When the sun had mostly set, I decided I wasn’t ready to go back inside yet, so I did what any self-respecting kid would do. I hiked up my snow pants and started crawling through the snow drifts. I made a snow angel. I ate a chunk of icy white snow, and I had an absolute blast while doing it. All of the memories I had made when I was younger came flooding back to me of countless hours spent playing out in the snow and realized how grateful I was that I was able to be at home rather than in South Africa.
I spent a large portion of my winter break “eating yellow snow,” being sad that I wasn’t having the time of my life with my teammates. While none of us would probably choose to actually eat yellow snow in real life, we easily fall into the trap of “eating our own yellow snow” when we choose to have a bad attitude. How much more fun would we have in our lives, how many more memories would we make with the ones we love, if we simply chose happiness over a bad attitude? After that day, I made the choice to love 4 o’clock rather than despise it. Every day when the clock strikes 4, I drop what I’m doing and begin doing something that I love: read one of my favorite books, begin watching a movie, eat some of my favorite food, go on a walk with a friend, or even watch the sunset. Let’s choose to stop “eating our own yellow snow.” Let’s choose happiness.
Stationed by the ear of corn,