I find myself closing in on one of those “big” birthdays — the kind that end in a zero. The funny thing is that I have very distinct memories of my mom hitting this age and thinking it was an enormous deal. Now I find myself so many years later, my children much younger than I was, and realizing that in my mind I am no longer aging. I feel the same as I did ten years ago. Yes, certainly, much has happened in those ten years, including three kids, but fundamentally, I am the same.
I don’t have birthday anxiety like many of my friends and family. As my mom always says, “It’s better than the alternative.” Truly though, the last decade was the best so far and I feel incredibly optimistic that I’m going to enjoy this next one even more. I am comfortable in my life, happy, fulfilled, and full of ambition.
What really struck me though as I was thinking about time passing is just how long tea has played a big part in it. It was nearly twenty years ago that I discovered specialty tea, when I opened those first books to dig into its fascinating past and present.
Where has it brought me since then?
* To this blog of course – While my posting is erratic, it has been a part of my life for six and a half years. Mind blowing. I sometimes hesitate to read those early posts — so much I thought I knew was wrong. But then I am struck by the growth and opportunity.
* To writing and editing as a profession – I have found my work published in trade magazines, regional publications and even national magazines like Yankee. I was interviewed by USA Today. One of my proudest accomplishments was helping transform Tea Magazine from a small but loved publication to a nationally distributed magazine with the quality of writing and design that could compete with the best. I had the chance to interview Dr. Andrew Weil and Padma Lakshmi. I worked with an amazing editor and writing team. Leaving the magazine was one of the hardest decisions I have made professionally, but it was the right thing for me. I am sad that the print magazine has now ceased to exist. It is actually kind of heartbreaking to be honest. So many 3 a.m. nights getting things edited and to press on time. Countless hours line editing and writing and choosing images. I am sure they will make a go of their new endeavor and I will cheer their progress. I do feel its loss though, even as I take pride in what we accomplished. You can see some of my work here.
* To publishing a book – A book with my name on the jacket. From a publishing house that releases its catalog each season and is known in the industry. A book that brought me into contact with people and stories that I will never forget. Each time I pick up one of Laura Childs’ new books (including her new NYT BESTSELLER), I think of how nervous I was asking her to write an essay for me. I remember my first phone call with Jane Pettigrew, someone I now can approach at a tea event and have a nice conversation with, picking up where we left off. It let me spend time with James Norwood Pratt and so many other tea friends I feel honored to know. My fingers are constantly poised on the keyboard, ready to work on the next. So many projects begun. I know there is certainly another book to come.
* To amazing tea shop memories – The lemon curd and scones on a rainy afternoon at the Clipper Merchant in Limerick, Maine. The dozen or more cups of tea at Savvy Tea Gourmet in Madison, Conn. A tea auction and dinner at the Park Plaza with Cindy Gold. Chatting with Bruce Richardson over tea and amazing treats at Fancy That in Walpole. Sitting in Tealuxe in Cambridge with my husband, enjoying a hot cuppa on a snowy day.
* To new cities and places – I traveled to London to a masterclass with Janet Pettigrew. I had my first foray into Las Vegas for World Tea Expo. I saw a different side of NYC as I perused its tea spots and had my first tea at the Plaza and attended A Gift of Tea’s amazing White Tea, enjoying laughs with The Devotea. I met great blogger friends in Philly at World Tea East and visited Russian Tea Time in Chicago. And perhaps the biggest tea event of my life — a trip to the White House to cover last year’s Mother’s Day tea. Each trip I take now always begins with a search for the must-hit tea shops.
And here I sit, ready for the next decade. (In case you’re shopping for me, you have a few weeks until the big day.) Maybe by the time that next zero rolls around I’ll have written that next book, launched my dream e-magazine, and found a way to make sure I can make a living with putting words on a page. In any event, tea will be part of it all.
My most recent Tea Biz posts: Tea for Your Teeth, Uncovering the Truth: Is Tea Full of Pesticides, and The Lighter Side: Tea the Key to a Good Relationship?