#2. ice-skating under the stars

My routine during the work week is usually pretty predictable. After packing up at the office and sitting in migraine-inducing traffic, Mike and I would usually quick throw something together for dinner and spend the next few hours sitting mindlessly in front of the television. After spending 8 – 9 hours at the office, our brains felt like mush and I’d induce a coma full of Honey Boo Boo and Desperate Housewives of Whatever while Mike played way too many games of Bejeweled Blitz on his iPhone.

Needless to say, working full-time has put me into a bit of a rut. A boring one at that. So I was beyond excited to get out of work today knowing that Mike and I would be spending the night ice-skating under the stars and neon lights in Downtown Silver Spring — something I’ve been dying to do now for months.

We're lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

We’re lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

When I was younger, I’d spend almost every weekend with my friends at our skating rink up the street. It’s where I had many of my first “puppy love” middle school dates, where cheesy N’Sync love songs would play and we’d clumsily and awkwardly fumble to hold each others hands. But I also just loved how freeing ice-skating felt… after the pain in your feet melted into numbness, there was nothing more exhilarating then whipping around the rink with the cold air biting at your face.

That’s why I wanted to include ice-skating under the stars on my 213 in 2013 bucket list.

After coming home and changing out of our business professional attire, we bundled up in scarves, hats and gloves and trekked over to the rink. I practically had to drag Mike with me after his last ice-skating disaster a few years back. Long story short, Mike surprised me with two passes to the Blue Cross River Rink in Philly for Valentine’s day. While other couples were skating figure eights, holding hands and smooching under the moonlight, Mike gave up after spending 10 minutes clinging to the side of the wall in shame and went to spend the rest of the night next to the free chocolate fountain while I was left to skate alone. Cute, right?

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice.

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice. I have giant, giant man feet (size 11).

After listening to him whimper and whine about not wanting to embarrass  himself in front of all the eight and nine year old kids, we took our first tentative steps onto the well-worn ice. My legs were a little wobbly and apprehensive at first. It’s like getting on a bike for the first time in years… you have to shake off the dust and make your muscles remember what to do. Slowly but surely, one foot in front of the other, I began to glide around the rink.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

And to my surprise, Mike took a leap of faith, let go of the wall and was skating right beside me. We spent the next two hours laughing, (almost) falling and singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs (not by choice… it was all they seemed to want to play.) We talked about work and life and made jokes. For the first time in a long time, I felt like we were actually spending time together and not just with each other.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

We traded in our skates after our feet couldn’t possibly take another lap and our lips chapped from the bitter cold and finished up the night grubbing on Chipotle while remarking on how nice it was to not be in front of the television for a change.

From cry-baby to man of confidence...Mike finally let go of the wall.

From cry-baby to man of confidence…Mike finally let go of the wall.

It just goes to show you that life doesn’t end at your cubicle. You can still have fun and be adventurous because life isn’t defined by 9 to 5 parameters. It’s our job, our responsibility to fill those hours outside of work with color and memories and laughs. I know it’s only three days in to 2013, but I’m already proud of myself for waking up and realizing the time is now.

This is my life. And I’m making every second of it count.

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