I wanna write about the cup of coffee I had this morning.
Because it was special.
I had a latte in a nice cafe. And I had a croissant. With butter and jam.
I want to write about it because this is a big deal for me.
I almost never go out for a cup of coffee because I simply can’t afford it.
I have coffee everyday at home instead. I can budget like no one else: one cup of coffee in a cafe is the same price as a bag of coffee that lasts me 2 weeks. Simple maths.
So even though I love cafes, I don’t go often.
Only on special occasions. Like today.
Because I was meeting my friend. And that’s special.
So I was meeting my friend early in the morning, and what better place to meet than a cafe.
I ordered a latte and then I did something unusual: I ordered food.
I believe the last time I ordered food with a cup of coffee was… almost a year ago.
The wheels of poverty move slowly…
On the way to the cafe I saw a billboard displaying a croissant, and that settled the matter. When I arrived at the cafe, I went for the croissant. The barista brought it to me: “Would you like butter and jam?”.
Jam! Butter is a regular occurrence at Tracy Island (ha!) but jam is not, due to some half-insane and entirely voluntary drive of mine to “eat healthy” and “cut back on sugar to keep teeth at their best” and whatnot.
Point is: I endure a life without jam, out of my own choosing. But this day, there was jam.
With croissant. And butter.
There I was, sitting on a comfy leather sofa, with a latte and a croissant. With butter and jam.
And I paused to marvel at this miracle
Think about the number of things that have to go “right” for coffee and croissant and butter and jam and a cafe to all come together and make that moment happen.
Then I lingered on something that made sense only to me.
And after you read this, maybe will make sense to you too.
There is one particular thing that had to go “right” for the moment to happen. And that is: wanting the moment to happen.
Caring about it. Wanting it. Going after it.
Let’s pause to look at this closely.
In Spain, where my grandparents come from, people will sit down at a cafe for a quick cup of coffee without any “reason”.
They have been walking about town and feel tired? Pause, and coffee.
They have had dinner and want to head to the local cafe to catch up with friends? Pause, and coffee.
They just stumbled upon someone they know? But of course, pause and coffee.
They think nothing of pause and coffee, quite literally sitting down with a rather-small cup of coffee and watching life go by. And talking. They do a lot of that.
Yet in Argentina, where I come from, this is not the case at all.
It seems that only the workaholic Spaniards ventured into the “new world”, for it’s not common for people to just go to a cafe for no discernible reason.
I did not grow up with the perception that it’s OK to gratify oneself
I was raised with a different mantra. It goes something like this:
You must work hard. No, harder. You can stop and enjoy things when you get somewhere, which you haven’t. So keep working. Keep enduring. No, endure more. And quit your whining.
My mother, who is not remotely as poor as me, would rarely, if ever, sit down at a cafe just to pause and coffee.
I lingered on that thought for a while, as I spread copious amounts of butter and jam on my croissant.
“Wow”, I thought. “Mum could have this, and yet she never does, simply because she doesn’t realise it’s possible”.
Here it is…
Learning to gratify myself for no good reason.
All gifts that came to me courtesy of poverty.
Without poverty, I would have never learned to appreciate the smallest moments of treasure.
I would have gone through life forever pushing for “more”, forever working harder, forever “enduring”.
Never taking a moment to pause and coffee.
Life is also meant to be enjoyed, at least on occasion
I don’t know the first, second or last thing about “getting what you want” in life.
But I do know this.
We may not be able to get everything we want. But we can get some things.
And just because we cannot get everything, doesn’t mean we should not go after what we can get.
And when we do, it helps to appreciate it.
Because as people always say, “it’s the little things” that matter most.
At least they are what life is mostly made of.