Today’s mug is unpainted, a blank mug canvas, shiny and new. It’s the first cup of 2012! It’s awaiting me to paint it.
Looking at it from the front, it may appear to be empty. But it’s not at all empty. My 2012 cup is half full with the coffee I’d already brewed in 2011 and 40 some years before that. Truly, as early as 1966 I was already putting my own elixir in the baby bottle of life. Oh I started 1967 with a lot less in that bottle. I’d only had 5 months to work on it and I was drinking it all in and not saving much. It wasn’t until over a decade later that I really realized what an awesome drink that elixir was and started saving some of it through photos, crafts, my personal journal, recording the recipe. Of course then it was “expressing myself.” I didn’t have any idea that every thought, every action, every person who joined me or influenced me would be such an important part of who I’d be at 45. I didn’t realize that all those things that shaped my character, all those memories and the things I don’t remember would be the foundation for the vintage that fills my 2012 cup.
But that’s exactly what they are, everything that’s me is already in my cup. It’s half full with room for more. The collection of mugs in my memories is all about the choices I make and how I handle the outcome of those choices. I try to add things to my cup that will make that year’s vintage sweeter, more robust, better than every year before it, because that will be the base for next year’s drink. I want to toast the coming year with it and be excited knowing next year’s spices will make it even better, although I can’t imagine it tasting better. I want to savor and share from my cup of life and know that everyone who takes a sip finds a flavor they want to add to their own cup, just as I find a spice to add to mine when they offer a sip from theirs. My character and the influence of everyone who touches me make mine the perfect brew for me.
The mug for every year is unique, painted as I go with every nuance of the decoration on it being up to me. My cups are usually full of bright colors with not much empty space left by the time I’m finished. Yes, there will be a few dark spots. I try to paint the brightest colors I can near those, not to make them disappear, they are part of that year’s mug, but to show how small they are compared to the cheerier colors. Sometimes I paint outside the lines, get a dab of bright yellow just inside the cup or extra spring green on the handle. I’m quite sure that 1967 baby bottle, the first one I had a full year to paint, had giggly pink scribbles all over it. Every year I try to paint more happy colors than sad ones and I try to paint neatly in a grid to make my mug pretty. Somehow, that grid thing never happens! I’ll usually get a curve ball of some sort by the end of January and the perfect grid is gone. But somehow, even though the blueprint I set myself at the end of the year before wasn’t followed to the letter, the mug still looks good.
I want my cup of life to be one that always makes me smile and makes other feel good when they see it too. Just with the blueprint I have for 2012, even if it doesn’t go directly as planned, the mug will look great and the contents will be, as it always is, better and better every year.