Eat Drink and Be Merry: Keys to a Happy Life

eat drink and be merry
eat drink and be merry

Eat drink and be merry!

Yesterday, my daughter gave me a handwritten note thanking me for something small I’d done for her earlier in the day. In it, she said: 

“I’ll always cherish those small moments because I think that is what a wonderful life is made of. Not so much the big extravagant moments, but the momentary, sweet, almost forgettable ones. Thanks, Dad!”

She’s right. Most of life’s moments are mundane. So we tend to fixate on the “big, extravagant” ones while missing the power of the seemingly insignificant ones. 

For example, when I reflect on my favorite meals of the past month, the first one that comes to mind had nothing to do with food.

It involved a change in my attitude.

An apparently unsolvable situation had me feeling tense during dinner. Midway through the meal, I noticed how my mood put a damper on our shared family time.

After asking myself, “Can I accept the difficult situation as is and be fully present with my family during the meal?” I immediately perked up and began sharing my highlight from the day.

Soon we were back to our usual laughter and chatter. The sudden shift in the atmosphere has made me keenly aware of how strongly my mood influences my entire family!

Every day brings appropriate times for working through difficulties. However, mealtimes are opportunities to set aside our vexations and become present to each other.

So, in my daughter’s words, mealtimes bring the “small moments” we cherish. Even the meals eaten alone are times to eat drink and be merry! And every morning, I seize the chance to practice this philosophy.

Eat Drink and Be Merry Alone

First, I hop out of bed to begin my push-ups and flutter kicks or another leg exercise.

Then I grab a bin or bag of greens from the fridge. As I eat them, I spend 10 minutes beginning my research for my daily blog post. Then it’s time for a break to wash some carrots and other veggies to enjoy with a side of hummus.

Being blessed enough to have such an excellent, wholesome breakfast frequently makes me laugh out loud from sheer joy!

A very merry way to start the day!

This typically occurs around 5 a.m., when no one else hears me crunching on carrots, laughing like a lunatic, and typing on my keyboard about my latest discoveries on the health benefits of plant-based foods. But that’s not always the case.

The other morning, my 17-year-old complained that my noise (especially crunching the carrots!) had awakened him and that he felt intensely irritated. Thankfully, he went back to sleep when my chomping stopped. 

Later, he recalled the incident with some amusement!

How We Eat Drink and Be Merry as a Family

We ate another of my favorite meals from the past month next to a snowy mountain waterfall, where we were warned to watch out for bears. 

That may not seem like a “mundane” setting. But our family hike to the falls was filled with small moments we could easily have lost if we didn’t make the most of them. 

We hiked nearly 5 miles up a beautiful but moderately difficult trail. Upon reaching the waterfall, all of us were sore from the exertion. However, we’d packed plenty of fruit, nuts, and my wife’s chickpea “tuna” mix. 

Drinking in the scenery counts too!

We settled by the rushing water, made sandwiches, and enjoyed our meal.

On our journey down the trail, my wife and youngest son waited in ambush behind some trees. They attacked the rest of us with a flurry of snowballs, and the ensuing snowball fight lasted for miles.

It continued until some of the kids jumped into a pool of frigid snowmelt water! There on the riverbank, we polished off the remaining apples.

After seven hours and more than 10 miles of incredible views, excellent food, and laughter, we returned to our home base. While my boys and I put away the hiking gear and cleaned up, my wife and daughter made plant-based pizza for dinner.

We didn’t see any bears but were warned that they would be out in higher numbers if we return during berry season.

As we wrapped up our “big extravagant” day, what struck me most were all little moments on the trail:

  • random conversations with each of my children
  • frequent pauses to gaze up at small waterfalls cascading down the mountainside.
  • really listening to the chirping birds

and taking time to eat, drink and be merry while enjoying our healthy, energy- and stamina-restoring food! So many small, almost insignificant moments are opportunities to engage completely with life. 

A couple of days ago, my Dad shared this saying with me: “Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the present.” What a beautiful thought! 

Today is a gift. Whether it brings a mountain hike or a return to work, every moment of every day is a present waiting to be unwrapped.

Since we all think about or eat food several times a day, why not let our meals remind us to cherish the small moments? 

Let’s all eat drink and be merry!

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