I used to drink coffee every morning, but now I drink tea. I feel I am very much a coffee person in spirit — in the same way that I am a dog person, maybe — but I have always been drawn to tea people. They have surrounded me in life and warmed me to the more nuanced, quiet pleasures of all the different teas there are to try. My best friend loves English Breakfast, my sister loves Earl Grey, my boyfriend loves Lapsang Souchong. Now, after years of turning up my nose and pouring myself another espresso, I love all of them. (Except Earl Grey, because bergamot tickles my throat.)
There is something beautiful about learning to love through osmosis. We fall in love with people throughout our lives and, by extension, learn to love what they love. Everything that they are interested in, everything they touch, is suddenly rendered fascinating and alluring in a way it had never been before. We learn entire languages, memorize whole recipe books, join a fandom of a show we’d never previously heard of — we become enamored with the things they have chosen to love in life.
We date someone who loves to dance. And they leave our life one day, but we dance for the rest of our lives. Was that not a gift — if not from them, then from the universe?
Everything is waiting to be discovered, to be fallen in love with. People we see day in, day out, for years on end are endlessly complex. There is so much about them we will never have time to learn, and so much they can give us just by gracing us with their presence. We are all privileged to see these bits and pieces of the rich inner lives we can never fully express, and to take something along with us and make it part of ourselves is akin to planting a seed and allowing it to grow in new, fertile soil. They taught me how to love tea, and one day, I will have tried a thousand kinds.
When we say that we want love, we often forget just how much of it we have. A friend recently told me, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life — I feel like everything is on full volume, and I can’t just listen to one song.” She is right. There is too much to do, too much to learn, too much to see. There are so many things left to love, so many things which are waiting to be discovered by our hand, things we will never reach out and touch. But it is important to think about all of the things we have today, all of the love which has already found us.
I will never learn how to skateboard, I don’t think. But if tomorrow I fell in love with someone who did — if a close friend or lover took me by the hand and showed me everything they know about it, because they are only too excited to share — I would try. And maybe I would grow to love skateboarding as if I had been born rolling down a hill.
We are looking for this, all of us. All the time. We want to find these things and for them to fill our lives with a fresh, new kind of joy. We want to feel that burst of life, that feeling of “everything is possible and there is so much I have not yet seen.” We want the love that we create in life to reach out in a thousand directions, to touch a million things we have not yet considered. We want to learn to drink tea because someone showed us how wonderful it was, and how many varieties there are for you to try. Our time is limited, but the ability to share these things and show each other what makes life most worth living for us is infinite.
Not too long ago, I went to lunch with a friend who saw that I ordered tea instead of coffee. “You getting old?” he asked. “Yeah,” I said, “but so are you.”