While pounding the pavements, and sometimes the avenues of Europe, I learnt the grass always looks greener on the other side and it’s a waste of time harbouring lawn envy.
I used to be adventurous. Alas I think my days of adventuring are over. Last week, I went great guns and ordered a Matcha with sparkling water. I like to pretend I’ll give most things a go (as long as they’re legal and danger-free).
In a bid to outwit the Matcha I asked the Barista for a taste before placing my order. The Barista insisted a taste was out of the question.
The drink came in a glass. No surprise there. It was kelp green with a fluorescent radiance. It was a grassy green concoction with little floaty bits. I tried to hide my horror but my friend raised her eyebrows at me (she used to be a school teacher). Under her gaze I plastered a pleasant plastic grin on my face.
‘Thank you,’ I muttered between clenched teeth.
A busy mental pep talk was going on inside my head.
‘How bad can it be?’
‘Drink this and I promise you can have a skinny latte with two sugars. Ok drink this, and you can have three sugars.’
I steeled myself. I also like to pretend I’m not whimpy. I would drink this down and I would love it.
One of my favourite hot beverages is green tea. I eyed my friend’s drink quizzically. She’s quite adventurous to be honest. In the last few years she’s retrained and reinvented herself. Now she’s storming the stage of her new profession and making quite a splash.
Her drink was also in a glass with a thick slice of cucumber. I think she’d ordered a Rooibos with apple juice.
‘You’ve got drink envy,’ she taunted.
I shook my head. I don’t really go for a side of salad hanging off the edge of my drink. A slice of lime or lemon in a G&T is fine and definitely no olives please.
Lifting my glass, I took a first tentative sip. Ooh bubbles. I like bubbles especially in champagne. This was however no champagne. This was the foulest green concoction I had ever met (barring of course that wheat grass shot I adventurously tried in the 90s).
The waitress stopped to watch. Peals of laughter hit the ceiling. My friend at least was having a good time. My face screwed itself up into a toddler-like expression of disgust.
‘Can I bring you something else?’ the kindly waitress asked.
‘Yes please, can I have a skinny latte with lots of sugar?’
Seriously, that’s the extent of adventure in my life.
In my 20s I backpacked around Europe. My man and I wandered around the Eurpoean continent with serious looking backpacks that towered above our heads. Language was a slight issue as we pretty much only speak Australian. Although I can order a ham and cheese sandwich in French and my man learnt how to order train tickets in Spanish.
We also learnt to be extremely polite to the French; smile a lot and greet everyone with a friendly ‘bonjour’. In Spain, if a matronly woman clicked her tongue we learnt to give way on the pavement. In Italy, I learnt the art of foot stamping in a little post office on the Island of Capri. Where dammit, it was my birthday, and I was darn well going to buy a stamp for my postcard to Gran. In Europe we learnt not to order steak as we like our meat charred.
We also learnt that life is life wherever you live. Most people seek to increase their standards of living. We all want the best for our children, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, and meaningful and interesting work. We want to live in safe cities, towns or villages.
Basically, while pounding the pavements, and sometimes the avenues of Europe, I learnt the grass always looks greener on the other side and it’s a waste of time harbouring lawn envy.
It’s an important lesson to learn. More often that not, we think we’ll be happier, more satisfied when we lose those last kilograms, eat healthier, get a new hairstyle (you could also insert here – buy the latest iPhone/new car/shoes/handbag/dress or move house or score that promotion or new job or meet Mr Right).
To be completely and utterly honest, all we have is right now. I’m not saying don’t aim for higher. I’ve sent my work to the far corners of the globe. Keep striving. Keep aiming for the stars. Believe in yourself and what you can do, but also take time to savour today.
Savour where you are right at this very moment. Look for the good in right now. Still spit out the Matcha but get that skinny latte down the hatch and enjoy what’s happening right now, in this very moment. Enjoy today.