A very scary butterfly is seen at the side of a lake along Hidden Creek Trail near Cooper Landing, Alaska, on July 8, 2023. (Photo courtesy Ashley Every)

Out of the Office: Moments of joy

Sometimes I make a cup of coffee just to feel something. That is, holding a warm mug and sipping some delicious — caffeinated — beverage evokes something in me.

Happiness, or maybe just contentment, has been on my mind lately. For the longest time I thought that happiness was a state of being, that at some point I would become happy and I guess continue to be so. This would, I figured, happen after I finished college.

On a recent night, scrolling through TikTok as one does, I saw a video about “seeking joy in the moment,” which resonated with me.

Life is full of moments — infinite moments. Like holding a warm mug of freshly brewed coffee. I had a similar joyful moment this morning as I sipped my first pumpkin spice latte of the year — but it’s not just coffee that I find joy in.

I wonder how many of those moments I’ve failed to realize are special. How many nights I take for granted, just sitting on the couch with family. I think of time spent with friends, a movie that makes me feel something, and a good meal. I’ve struggled to appreciate these moments because I’m always chasing something greater, but maybe nothing is.

I’ve written before about slowing down, getting lost and taking a breath, but I still don’t get the idea.

When I was trying to think about a photo to include with this column, I remembered photos taken at Hidden Creek Trail in July. I remembered sitting on a fallen log, eating snacks, running from a butterfly — because they’re totally freaky — and catching my breath before the inevitable hike back to my beautiful car.

What a moment that was — what would have been greater than that?

This summer’s been full of a lot of those moments, and I’m trying to remember to take the time to remember them — or, at the very least, to take more pictures so I can remember them later. I remember tears streaming down my face at the close of “Hamilton” in Anchorage last weekend. I remember buying groceries. I remember taking a hard stand for the wrong answer at bar trivia and I remember guiding five strangers to success through a difficult challenge in a video game.

I remember sitting down with a warm and fresh cup of coffee.

I’m profoundly scared of the idea that everything is finite, that everything will end and nothing will last forever. But failing to appreciate the time that I have is the only way to see that time wasted.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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