A traveler friend once told me that she breaks down the best moments of her trips into monetary units.
That amazing, three-hour lunch under the Spanish moss with your best friends cost more than the $150 restaurant bill. It’s the four-hour, $400 flight that brought you to Savannah and the hour of faffing around at the car rental place. It’s the 30 minutes of Googling to find this gorgeous, hole-in-the-wall bistro and the $50 dress you bought for this trip.
Using her calculations that meal actually cost me $350 and two days of my life.
I’m sure I audibly gasped when I ran the numbers on some of my favorite memories. $550 for that time I hand-fed the sassy alpaca! $375 dollars for the afternoon Alex and I played board games in the park and ate hipster ice cream! $400 for real, actual tacos in Mexico, consumed on paper plates while sitting in plastic chairs on the side of the road.
Even if my friend’s idea was more budget-based than inspirational, it had a surprisingly centering effect on me. Because I have this ridiculous, terrible habit of rushing through happiness.
I’m standing on the parade route at Dollywood, watching one of my favorite celebrities wave glamorously, and as soon as she’s past, I’m wondering where we parked. It’s the last day of a perfect cabin weekend with friends and instead of pouring myself another mimosa on the deck, I’m thinking about weekend traffic and looking for my phone charger.
Why is it so hard to sit in our happiness? Why is it so difficult to say “Be happy in this moment, this moment is your life” … and then stay in the moment? Am I the only one who recites that mantra and then immediately starts thinking about what I’ll make for dinner?
If this sounds familiar, let’s make a pact.
Let’s learn to sit in our happiness (even if it makes us a little uncomfortable.)
Let’s honor all the hard work and time and money that went into any given moment of transcendent joy. For every joy and laughter-filled dinner party, there are hours of menu planning, cooking, and clean up. For every triumphant finish-line-crossing, there are months of training and sweat and compromise.
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