I remember the first time I made a cup of tea. I can’t quite recall my first cup, but I do remember the first one I made. It was a simple Lipton tea bag. Enveloping, but with a little bite. Sort of the way fall becomes winter. Or that telling itch when the bath was drawn just a little too hot. Every cup thereafter becomes a subtle re-creation attempt.
I try to expand the moment before the tea touches my tongue. Breathe it in. Slowly. Deliberately. It takes a few moments, but it forces me to slow down much the way a mom does an energetic toddler. This slowness is fertile ground for reflection, and I often reflect on how fortunate I am, and how grateful I am for that fortune.
Gratitude and humility are actionable goals I seek to model every day. Though the process of gratitude and humility may be uncomfortable and difficult, those feelings are a necessary part of building happiness, and it gets easier with practice. I am grateful for the souls reading these words. I hope these words edify you. I hope they bring happiness.
Remembering the wonder of the moment helps center my thoughts, as humility opens us to ourselves. But I often fail to remain centered. I often over-think, because too much of my happiness is gained from winning assurances from society. Once you get the job, you have to keep it. Once you get the bonus, you have to get it next year. Once you get a promotion, you have to snag a better one within three.
This is the cost. Different lives have different costs. This is the one I choose.
So, to reclaim my time on days where gratitude and humility fail to center my perspective, I follow my heart and indulge myself while honoring the gratitude I have for my health.
I take a hot soak every other day, lingering past the point of pruney digits. I eat the extra scoop of ice cream, and the extra slice of pie…or cake. I run the extra mile. I nap for a few more minutes and buy the boots in the window. I remember that everyone, no matter where they are from wants to feel loved, a sense of purpose, valued, and heard.
And I try to forgive myself. To remember that good things often bite a little. That asking forgiveness is an indication of strength, just like taking a few moments to breathe deeply helps us with the most time consuming tasks.
But most importantly, I remind myself there is wonder in the world. It’ll always be there, I just have to find it. And most of the time, it can be found during an impromptu dance party on my bed, or in the kisses my dog gives me when negotiating a few more minutes of play, or in my niece’s laugh. It can be found on the beaches when I crossed items from my bucket list, or in the rainstorms I was completely ill-prepared to handle. It can be found watching children grow up, and in the deepest recess of my darkest fears.
I find happiness when I take the moment to check-in with the little boy who wanted to be an astronaut, and ask him what he’d like to do today. And doing just that.
He is just as cool as I remember, and the tea tastes just as good to him too.