August 6, 2014 by Gene Jones

As I sipped my cup of green tea this morning, I found myself pensively dipping the teabag over and over again. This insignificant action caught my attention because it is not my usual style. I usually let the teabag slide into the cup and then disappear beneath the murky water. After years of drinking green tea in the morning, this morning I finally noticed that there is a wisdom phrase on the miniscule flap of paper attached to the string dangling from each teabag. In a change of ritual, I grabbed the string, rescuing it from sliding into the cup. Realizing I have missed thousands of pieces of advice from the Yogi Tea Company, I decided not to let this morning’s message escape unread, so I squinted to absorb what was expected to be a standard fortune cookie comment. Little did I know that this teabag had something important to say:
“The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.”
Reading that simple sentence put my mind into a spin. It stated an obvious fact most of intuitively know, but too often ignore.
The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment.
Is that truly the purpose of life?
Is human existence really that simple?
What about all the other animals and plants… they have the same purpose?
I flipped the tiny piece of paper over, hoping that the other side would say
“Just kidding!” …..but it didn’t.
It isn’t fair when a teabag changes your day……even worse when it changes your whole life.
So I’m sitting there staring at a teacup, vowing to change my life.
First of all, I don’t feel like working today. There are lots of projects screaming for my attention, but it’s a gorgeous day begging for a walk in the park. Standard procedure finds me back in the office aggressively meeting every responsibility while longingly staring out the window.
The teabag starts to laugh.
It wants to know why we so often deny ourselves enjoyment.
It wants to know what moments we actually plan to enjoy.
I scramble to explain that I am planning a fabulous vacation with my wife, who is also suffering from the pressures of her job. In fact, we both know exactly how many days it is until we leave for that trip. Recalling that number makes me sweat, because it is too large.
The teabag falls silent.
It’s disapproval hurts. It needs not speak any more, as the message is clear:
It is time to enjoy life now!
I gulp down the cup of tea, as if drinking that energized water will offer some miraculous epiphany. I tear off the small flap of paper from its string and wander toward my computer.
Staring at ‘The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment’ is making me feel miserable.
Something has to change…..but what? I can’t leave for vacation for another three months.
What about the deadlines?
What about the responsibilities?
What about the mortgage?
How does a person find enjoyment in every moment of life?
And then it hit me like an oncoming truck.
Enjoyment of life must arise from inside.
Enjoyment of life is an attitude.
We can learn to enjoy even what we do not enjoy.
We can change the way we feel about any situation. Some events or situations will sorely test our ability to enjoy them, but taking a sunny attitude towards life is the only solution to this profound challenge.
Every moment, even painful ones, offer the possibility of some unexpected pleasure. It is up to us to explore those possibilities.
Rejuvenated, I stare down the now limp teabag. Before tossing it into oblivion, I am determined to enjoy conquering its message. In triumph, I declare that I am going to enjoy all the things I never enjoyed before.
Furthermore, I don’t have to quit my job……I just have to learn how to enjoy it more.
As I return to my computer, I pause to take in a moment of sunshine, realizing that grabbing a few extra moments of life on my own terms is the first step towards enjoying all the others.
I feel liberated.
I might even drink a different flavored tea tomorrow.
No matter what flavor I choose, I’ll certainly read the teabag.