What a cup of tea can teach us about a global pandemic

I’m not going to say it’s been a difficult year. I’m better than that.

(But not enough to be above mentioning I’m not mentioning it, so I can have my cake and eat it).

If you’ve been wishing the pandemic never happened, you’re not alone. But wishful thinking isn’t the place you should be focussing.

Why wishing doesn’t make it so

When things go wrong (like a global pandemic ruining goddamn everything), it’s fairly natural to spend time wishing that things had been better.

It’s so easy to imagine a million ways things could have been different:

  • What if there was no pandemic?
  • What if I’d moved out of the city before lockdown?
  • What if I’d become one of those toilet paper millionaires?

But, as much as it feels these things could have happened, they didn’t. Wishing for them, or imagining a world where they happened, is pointless.

Well, OK, it can be a fun thought experiment. But if you’re wishing for impossible things, why stop there? Why not wish you could fly? Or that you had a pet unicorn? Or got paid £10 every time you’d been forced to read the word ‘unprecedented’?

So, instead of dwelling on all the things that could have gone better, it’s far more useful to focus on something much more uplifting.

The answer, as it so often is in British life, is a nice cup of tea.

What a cup of tea can teach us about a global pandemic

As we get to the other side of the pandemic, things will slowly return to normal. 

There are going to be reunions. People you haven’t seen in so long (too long).

Each of those moments is going to feel wonderful. The first hugs. Meals out. Everything we’ve been dreaming about. But even the tiniest of moments could feel profoundly moving.

For instance, some day soon, you’ll be able to turn to the people you love most in the world and say “fancy a cuppa?”.

If I’d told you 18 months ago that the ability to make a cup of tea would be enough to make you well up, you’d think I was insane.

Don’t forget the small things

These tiny moments, the kind of moments we took for granted in a pre-pandemic world (because who could imagine them not being allowed?) will be back, with ever greater emotion attached to them.

Will this make the whole pandemic ‘worth it’? Of course not, not even close.

But if you take a moment to fully appreciate it, could sharing that cup of tea be a lifelong memory that you’ll treasure forever? Absolutely. 

And that’s something.