Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

The Key to Happiness.

One of my favorite items of jewelry isn’t jewelry at all.  It is a key.  A funky, beat up antique iron key that made its way into my possession a number of years ago.  It is a key that was likely used to lock and unlock an old trunk or piece of furniture, but I wear it around my neck.  When people ask what it goes to, I tell them, “It is my key to happiness.”

Life is often an overwhelming thing and sleep, glorious sleep, can be one of the best vacations from a busy world that occupies a busy mind.  Unfortunately, an active mind is hard to turn off and can sometimes get in the way of much-needed restorative slumber.  Surveys have shown that 30% to 35% of Americans have difficulty falling asleep and about 10% report problems with long standing insomnia and doctors have multiple methods of treating sleeplessness, but what about plain ol’ garden variety trouble getting to (or back to) sleep?

In my 20’s, when I would try to sleep and instead spend long, dark nights answering business phones or trying to do work that I’d left behind at the office, people who were fans of “visualization” tried to help me.  They’d tell me to envision colors slowly traveling from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head.  The idea being that by the time I worked my way through the color wheel, until I got to nothing but white, I’d be like a television broadcast of yore that went off the air in a fuzz of electronic snow.  I’m sorry to report that I am not wired that way.  It didn’t work.

When I was a little girl the grownups would tell me to count sheep.  Pshh.  I could never gather enough gently baaing sheep to drown out those same adults arguing and carrying on in the other rooms of the house.  So much for the idea of livestock inventory.

Oh, and the warm milk theory?  That never helped me either.  I always have good intentions of having warm milk, but it somehow ends up becoming a cup of hot and then the sugar gets me more wound up than when I started.  Tea is good, and as much as I love it, even decaf is not foolproof.

Honestly, at the end of a mad, mad, mad, mad day all I’ve ever really wanted to do was run away.  But, time and budget constraints are just a couple of reasons that it isn’t an option.  There is also the pesky business of planning and packing to consider.   Not to mention, you have to ask yourself: Do you go alone or are you going to have to take someone along for the ride?  No, running away is never easy, nor is it usually the right answer.

Or is it?

One night, after a particularly difficult day, I simply could not get to sleep and found myself lamenting the fact that I did not actually have some quaint hideaway to disappear to when times got rough.  Lying in bed staring into the busy-busy darkness, I decided that even if I could afford a getaway (which I cannot), what would it even look like? Hmmmm.   [In my world, one of the nice things about having a shooting gallery in your mind, instead of traditional gray matter, is that you have a lot of nooks and crannies to discover.]   So, starting with the doormat, I imagined looking closely down at the design imprinted on it and tried to picture the material it would be made of.  Then, I slowly looked up at the ornate, aged bronze doorknob and unlocked it with a heavy key I could almost feel in my hand.  I could see the door swing open and found myself absorbing all of the many details of a little living room to the left of me, including an inviting fireplace.  Then, I scanned across the room over to the right where I saw a small and cozy kitchen (even in the limitless fantasies of my own design, I’m practical and chose to keep my reverie manageable and easy to clean).  By the time I made my way into the kitchen (that overlooks the water), to find a mug for tea, I was out for the night.  In the morning, I was ridiculously happy, not just for a good night’s sleep but for the gift I’d given myself – a lovely place to call my own.

Shortly after I took possession of the seaside bungalow in my brain, the old skeleton key came into my life and it just seemed to fit.  Around my neck it went, to remind me that no matter how difficult the waking hours could be or the persnickety personalities I might be faced with, I had an awesome “out” at the end of my day.

In the real world, on a slow afternoon, I’ve priced that dream domicile.  Apparently, even apartments under four digits of square feet near the beach are the equivalent of running a landlocked ranch with approximately 300 championed, ribboned sheep and a few important breeding rams.  I haven’t the time, patience or money to count that high.

Instead, I am going to continue to collect old keys to new places (with no financial strain) to visit in my mind.  And sleep easy.

* * *

Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

All our lives we live in chains and never even know we hold the key.” ~ Anonymous

The key to the best places, in my mind, hangs around my neck.” ~ T. Katz

5 thoughts on “The Key to Happiness.

  • Jim says:

    Keys work if they are exercised without fear nor constraints of man’s design. Love overcomes fear, understanding constraints. The end result is freedom…

  • Judie King says:

    TKatz, I love your thoughts, you are a remarkable young woman. I always consider how to spend a million dollars if i had it. (smile) Puts me to sleep every time. Judie

  • Cindy says:

    This is so wonderful! I too have experienced far to many years of sleeplessness. When living in years of domestic violence I dared not fall asleep, or I would be awakened with large hands around my throat gasping for my breath. I am thankful for the gift of living, as well as being blessed with a wonderful life that has been given to me. I have come soooo very far over the past eighteen years but I know I will be recovering for the rest of my life. This gives me an idea of how I too my add a few more hours to my sleep. Thank you for all you share, there are so many inspiring things that touch others hearts. I am sure others feel this way as well. Be well & many blessings to you my friend.

    • TKatz says:

      My heart is happy for the warmth of your words.
      Know that I wish for you… only that which makes you smile, even as you slumber.
      xo – t.

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