Tea Rooms

Lemon Drizzle Cake at the Jane Austen Centre's Regency Tea Room

Last Sunday I sat in a Regency Style Tea Room in Bath with a pot of (Indian) tea and a piece of lemon drizzle cake.

It was similar to moments I’ve had throughout the world this year. A cup of coffee and a chocolate cake in Dharmasala. My morning porridge and coffee in Pushkar. An afternoon in a cafe in Kathmandu. Delhi. London. Dublin. Paris. Every one has been different in some way – different region-specific order, different people to watch – but similar in others. There’s always people to watch, fellow travelers to chat up, postcards or journal entries to write…

Despite back of the mind stress regarding a Monday morning presentation, I had a moment of absolute contentedness in that tea room.

I have had a really awesome year. I have been to seven different countries and even more regional locations. India. Nepal. London. Ireland. Scotland. France. Washington, DC. Boston. New York City. Charleston, South Carolina. Montreal. Ottawa. Brighton. I have seen the Taj Mahal, Buckingham Palace, Versailles, Eiffel Tower and Stonehenge. I saw the Dali Lama resign his political position and give a lecture. I have hiked in the Himalayas. I fell for a guy I met because of a technological fluke. I am starting a program where I am studying exactly what I want to be studying and will hopefully go into exactly what I want to be working with.

A year ago this time, I was flailing. I had a job, but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. I wasn’t miserable, but it was like… college gave me the keys to a car that I didn’t know how to drive. I wasn’t shifting gears properly, I kept on stalling out and my inner-GPS was broken. So I spent two years sort of driving around the neighborhood trying to make sense of the street signs and not stall out on hills.
I kept on coming up with excuses not to leave the neighborhood. There was always a practical reason to not do the things I wanted to do. Money. Time. Relationships. Family. Responsibilities. Student loans. The thing that I was forgetting, the thing that so many people seem to forget while they’re driving around the neighborhood looking for the right street to turn down, is that we are responsible for our own happiness. If you want something, the only way it is going to happen is for you to be proactive about it. Figure out the steps you need to do in your situation to make what you want happen. And do it. Because life is so damn short.
It’s been said before, by much more articulate philosophers than me: All we really have is now. If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it?
Procrastinate on your homework and your housework, not your life. Stop coming up with excuses and instead figure out how to make it happen, or you’re going to be ninety years old with a lot of Should Haves instead of crazy stories to horrify your grandchildren with.

That inner-GPS you’re trying to get to work? It’ll recalculate as soon as you make a move. But you have to make a move. You have to go somewhere, physically or metaphorically.

I’m so glad I did, and I’m so blessed to have had the year I’ve had and will hopefully continue to have.

But now, now it’s time to stop procrastinating on that academic theory reading…

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