I was so excited the other day when I came across an article about growing your own indoor tea garden. Growing tea indoors? How cool is that? I love tea, all different flavors and herbal concoctions, but I have always loved a simple Earl Grey in the afternoon to help me to slow down and practice some mindfulness before the day gets away from me. Having had to learn to grow just about everything in pots and containers as an apartment dweller, I was sure that if I could pull off lettuce and tomatoes indoors, I could pull this off as well.
Further reading led me to the discovery that all teas - black, white and green tea - all come from the same species of plant. Their differences in color and taste come from how the leaves are processed. Excellent! As I kept on reading the instructions as to seeds vs cuttings, correct soil, pots, exposure to sunlight, watering, and feeding, I became even more excited. I was sure I could do this ... until I came to the last sentence: "After three years, when your plant is mature, you can harvest and process your own tea." Three years? I would actually have to nurse and nurture these plants for three years before I could harvest the leaves? That's a awfully long time to wait for a cup of tea! The real question is not can I do it? Of course, I can do it. I am, after all, the Queen of Indoor Gardening. No, the real questions is, am I willing to put in the time, money and effort - and patience - to have to wait three years for results?
I thought back to a time when I was about 12 years old. I had seen a pair of dress shoes that I just had to have. They were shiny black patent leather with a bow on the toe and 2 1/2" wine glass shaped heels, all the rage at the time. When I told my mother, she absolutely refused to buy them for me. First, she explained, they were just too expensive. Second, they were too old for me. I was not ready for 2 1/2" heels ... "You'll break your neck," she said. Disappointed, I decided that I was willing to do anything to have those shoes, so I started saving up all of my allowance for the next two months. I even offered to do the dishes when it was my sister's turn in exchange for some extra cash. The day finally came after two long and very hard months of waiting when I proudly took myself to the local shoe store and bought the shoes. They were beautiful. What happened? Well, yes, I almost broke my neck in them, although practicing in my room helped after a while. Actually, once I got the hang of it, I discovered that heels that high, and soles that flimsy would actually end up killing your feet after a few hours. None of that mattered, however. Here was something I had done on my own, with my own money, sacrificing everything to achieve my goal. When you're 12, two months is a life time. So what's three years to brew a cup of tea I can proudly tell people: "I grew this myself!"
It's not the time, or the money, or the energy that we put out in order to achieve something. It's the feeling that the important things in life, the things that give us a sense of fulfillment, are worth waiting for, and worth working for. Why? Because we're worth it. We're worth the finest cup of tea we can grow, or the shiniest pair of shoes we can buy. We're worth living our lives on our terms, doing what makes us happy, and at whatever pace we choose. After all, happiness, like money, doesn't grow on trees ... for me, it grows on little bushes in pots!
And so it is.