How do you view the rain? The answer may change your outlook on life.

by Jordan Green

Dark clouds covered the sky, and rain poured down over Highway 11 near Medford on Friday as my parents and I drove to Alva. I was on my way to Northwestern Oklahoma State University to move into the dorms for my junior year of college. Doesn’t seem like my collegiate career should be halfway over, but here we are. I was a little dismayed as I drove westward. Rain? Is this an omen? The clouds looked foreboding.

That’s not the way I wanted to start off the year. The more I thought about this, though, I realized I just needed to change my frame of thought. While the stormy weather associated with rain is often seen as a sign of danger (thank you, literary archetypes), rain itself has a cleansing effect. In a literal sense, it washes away grime and gunk, and it gives life to plants, animals and, of course, us.

In a metaphorical sense, it represents new beginnings. A new school year has a similar effect. As students return to class, they’re being given the chance to start over. If their grades suffered last year, they can start with an ‘A’ this year. If they didn’t hang around the right crowd in the spring, they can make new friends this fall. The list of changes goes on and on. I’ve been looking forward to the new school year, even though I had a spectacular summer overall. I loved my internship, and I’ve enjoyed every story I’ve gotten to tell for the newspapers I work for.

I’ve spent time with my family and friends, and I made new friends. I’ve created happy memories that I’ll have forever. But that doesn’t mean every part of the summer was perfect. Everyone has challenges, and I faced my fair share, too. With all things considered, I’ve been ready for life’s next chapter to start for a while.

Now, it has. Classes were back in session on Monday, and though I can tell the school year will be busy, I’m excited for what’s in store. The first two years of my college experience were wonderful, even in spite of the pandemic. Now that I’ve got only two more to go, I’m going to do my best to make them just as fun and fruitful. As my parents and I made our way to Alva in the pouring rain, I looked down the road. Several miles ahead of us, I could see the sun shining down. Before I knew it, the storm was over. The sky turned heavenly shades of baby blue and pink, and the grass was a bright, shiny green.

It was a beautiful sight. Thanks to the rain, the world seemed cleaner and fresher than it had in a while. Does rain have that effect for you? Or have you thought about it in this way before? If you feel like you’re stuck in a funk or need a change in life, consider the changes you can make today. Perhaps it’s just a change in your mindset. You don’t have to start a new job, move to a new place or start a new school year. Try getting up in the mornings and realizing that every day is a new day.

You can make positive changes in your life starting right now. For some, that’s as simple as not repeating a mistake today that you made yesterday. (And if you can avoid those, that’s a great new beginning.) I settled into my dorm with the same mindset. I’ve been given a fresh start. This is a new chapter in my life, and I’m already starting it off on a high note. In hindsight, that rainstorm wasn’t bad at all. It was a sign that brighter days are yet to come. Sometimes, they’re just down the road – and we just have to look for them.