There is nothing quite like the first sip of chai in the morning.
I’m sure people feel that way about coffee. But for me, it isn’t about staying awake, or even waking up. The warmth and milky sweetness is just utterly comforting.
I have tried many times to give up my chai. And I can’t. And I probably won’t. Ever. The little things in life that make us smile are worth keeping and cherishing.
This morning, after shivering the entire ride into the city (and for that, I actually DO say thank you to Septa because a person cannot always rely on their train to be cold in the heat of July), I made my way to Starbucks (as I do every morning in the city). Most of the baristas know me, and they know my drink. I’m nothing if not a creature of habit.
And as I walked back toward the office, twenty ounces of soy milk and chai syrup safely cupped in my hands, I thought about all the little things that make me happy. Maybe not every day — we all have really bad days — but most days.
I love the city in the morning. It’s a little hard to admit that, because Philadelphia and I have a love/hate relationship that tends toward the ‘hate’. But before everyone gets angry, and the streets are hot and sweaty — before the gates are raised on the storefronts, and only half the population is awake — that Philadelphia is my favorite.
It isn’t easy dragging oneself out of bed before six a.m. (yes, there are lots of us awake before six, but it doesn’t make it easier!). I’m usually stressed out because I am running late for the train (Septa can be late, but us riders cannot!). And the ride in can be tedious and full of weird smells, loud phone talkers and grumpy conductors. It’s a cost/benefit analysis every day — the train can be much too public, however! ~ driving into Center City from our new house makes me want to gouge my eyes out.
But when you finally emerge onto Market Street, and it hasn’t gotten grossly humid yet, and the city is humming quietly as it stretches its arms and begins to wake up — it makes me grateful to come into the city multiple days a week, despite the very long commute.
I’m grateful for my new office (despite all the challenges) because it’s full of windows and natural light.
I’m grateful that I don’t punch a clock.
I’m grateful that when I get off the train at night, and speed walk to my car in an attempt to get out of the parking lot before the swarms of people also disembarking at Thorndale, that my house is less than five minutes away. And Lucy will be there to greet me, with her wiggly tail and her toy gripped firmly in her mouth.
I’m grateful for our walks around the neighborhood (currently a construction zone) and for the time I spend getting sweaty on my bike (stationary or mobile ~ either works!).
I’m grateful for my house, and its comforts.
I’m grateful for my husband. This could be an entire novel, so I’ll limit it to the fact that he is my best friend, and we get to hang out with each other nearly every day. And wake up with each other nearly every morning. And share all the goodness of life with each other.
I’m grateful for music, and especially “Hamilton” ~ the musical that restored my faith in the art form I have loved since childhood.
I am grateful for my family and the fact that they live twenty-three minutes away (just ask them!). I am grateful that my dad comes to walk Lucy on Fridays while John and I are at work. I am eternally grateful that they are always there for comfort, for advice, and for dinner.
I’m not sure why I felt moved to write this post. But life gets really hard, and there are very dark moments. Gratitude is important.