A few days ago, I turned 29. It was the worst birthday I’ve ever had, with so many fears and doubts coming to the surface. The whys and whats aren’t important, but it was some year-old Jasmine tea that got me back on my pretty little feet.
A year earlier, on my 28th birthday, my good friend surprised me with organic Jasmine pearls, which was so sweet and thoughtful that I couldn’t get myself to actually use them. I put the tea container on a shelf at work and just opened the lid from time to time to smell the aroma. (Because, you know, if you use up all the tea, the friendship won’t exist anymore, right?)
Similarly, for Christmas, I bought my mom some Jasmine blooming tea, and she and her lady friends thought it was the most elegant thing they’d ever seen, so my mom put it away for “special occasions.” (It’s like we’re related or something.) It’s kind of like putting away the good china, except it’s just silly everyday green tea. She really loved my gift, but she was raised with a scarcity mentality, therefore she can’t get herself to use up just about anything.
So I got to thinking, what exactly are we waiting for? Why do we save the beautiful things in our lives for that special “someday” that never actually comes? And what exactly happens when you put away all these little pleasures in your life?
I WILL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS! You get majorly depressed. You find yourself crying your eyes out on your 29th birthday, wondering why your life feels so empty. And why? It’s because you’re not using your good china. Or drinking your surprise tea. Or wearing that expensive winter coat that you really love, but that cost almost half a paycheck, so you’re just going to let it sit nice and protected in the back of the closet for another four years. (Seriously, why do so many of us deprive ourselves of nice things? And why does this seem to be a predominantly female characteristic?)
So, after I was all cried out, I was newly determined to get back on track. My birthday was the real start of the new year. I called it “Operation: Bring Joy Into My Life,” and I actually wrote a list of things that I must allow myself to indulge in, like eating my favorite foods, using the last of my favorite perfume, and finally buying that can of expensive matcha that’s been sitting in my Amazon cart for MONTHS. And for you poo-pooers, it’s not about hedonism; it’s about allowing yourself to relax, to acknowledge your self-worth, to not be so self-sacrificial every single day of your life. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The purpose of life, after all, is to love it.”
So, you there: buy the good tea! Use the fine silverware! Indulge yourself, for goodness sake! And if you have a year-old container of Jasmine pearls sitting on your shelf at work, TAKE IT HOME, open it up, and share that goodness with your family. Don’t worry, there is plenty more where that came from. In the words of Lao Tzu, “There will always be enough.”