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Carrying Umbrellas Before It’s Raining

The other day, I left my apartment without sunglasses and was shocked by how bright it was. When I was getting ready the next day, I remembered this lesson and after truly 4 seconds of looking for my sunglasses, decided it couldn’t actually be that bad. I left without them and was pleasantly surprised. It was the kind of northeastern winter day where it’s cold but not biting; bright but not blinding.

About twenty minutes later, I texted my partner: Two ppl just got on the train with umbrellas. Do they know something I don’t?

Of course, it did end up raining that afternoon and I did end up with wet socks on my train ride home. I laughed at my nearly empty canvas bag I had carried with me all day and how wow, there certainly was enough room to throw an umbrella in!

And it got me thinking about people who pack umbrellas on sunny mornings. Before we could check the doppler with a couple taps on our phones, before there was a designated “Weather Channel” on television, before the newspapers were super accurate with their forecasts, did it seem strange to carry an umbrella on sunny mornings?

I like to think of myself as someone who carries an umbrella in the sunshine. Throughout my 11+ years of posting daily Happiness is, I’ve been growing my umbrella. You see, in those 11+ years, I’ve had days filled with incomprehensible beauty and joy. And I’ve had days that left me gutted and numb. But in both these instances, I’ve been adding patches to my umbrella, opening my journal and writing a “Happiness is.”

I might not know when the next storm is rolling through, but I’m doing everything in my power to be prepared.

When I was a little kid and there would be a loud thunderstorm, I’d fall asleep with a flashlight next to my bed as the possibility of losing power during the night was a fairly reasonable assumption. To this day, even though my phone has a flashlight, I still almost always have a tiny flashlight in my nightstand. The thing is, I don’t know if I’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night and used a flashlight. But I have it ready, just in case.

I don’t know when it’s going to rain, when the power is going to go out, or when I’ll have the kind of day that takes everything out of me. But I know that by packing an umbrella or investing in a flashlight or by doing simple acts of self love and joy journaling every single day, I have set myself up to be okay.

What would it look like to set yourself up to be okay? Is it stocking your pantry with healthy snacks? Leaning back into your sleep schedule? Practicing a hobby that brings you joy? Calling someone you love?

Will the rain still get in? Of course. But anyone who has walked 6 city blocks without an umbrella knows even the broken ones are better than nothing. So build your umbrella unapologetically. Build your umbrella in the sunshine. And see how it serves you in the rain.


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