Impermanence - 

Tea is both forever and not forever.  

The lasting nature of tea culture will surely outlive all of us. The tea next to you and I right now is not going to always be there so we might as well enjoy it. 

I find myself squirreling away a tea because it is either really expensive and I want to share it with those dear to me or because I only have a small amount and not sure if I will be able to find more. These are common things I’m sure many of you tea folk out there have been through. It’s time to stop though. We are depriving ourselves of the pleasure we sought in the first place. 

If you only have lets say 25 grams of an aged oolong from the 80′s you should drink it now. You bought it because you wanted to drink it so… drink. the small amount means it is unlikely to change much in your lifetime so investing in it for it’s future potential is not advisable from my experiences. What ends up happening is you miss out on its current magic, which is perhaps the reason you made the purchase. 

Puer can be a bit different but still at 25g you should just drink it. Even a 100g tuo is a small amount in the puer world where collectors sometimes refer to a full tong of 7 bings as a sample… this is not to say you shouldn’t by for the future, you should do that too. That should be a bit more calculated though. if you are going to buy a tong of a puer, you’d better like it enough to see it through at least one big age/flavor change. 

Another perspective is that you don’t necessarily need to only buy tea to drink now. I do know some folks that only drink fresh tea as they come in and don’t get a lot so they never have those moments of questioning whether or not to throw out, give away or begrudgingly drink Long Jing from 3 springs ago. 

seasons change, people change, teas change. So I encourage you to share one of those special teas you have on the shelf with person dear to you. You don’t want to have waited to taste that amazing 1st flush because your friend was away. they will understand. It’s like getting a piece of fruit or a vegetable for a specific recipe and not having enough people around so you put it off and your special ingredient spoils. While the tea will not spoil exactly, it will misrepresent the tea (and you) if you share it past it’s drinking prime. 

For puer, we don’t know when that prime might be. many of us are too young to have experience with aging a tea more than 5 years. (I’m only at 7 with my longest owned tea) So I find myself drinking the teas that I expect to be better if not fantastic in another 5-10 years because I love the way they taste now. I might not be able to find that tea again, I understand, but tea is still being produced. I’m sure I will find plenty more teas every year that I fall in love with. If I am drinking teas I love while discovering new teas to love what’s wrong with that? sounds great!  

While teas are consumed and thus intentionally our supplies our depleted, teaware is another lesson in impermanence. Remember the first teapot or gaiwan that you bought? remember when it smashed on the floor or when the cat knocked it off the shelf? If you are not among the few people who can (or at least tried to repair teaware) this was a moment of heartbreak. Like leaving your favorite stuffed animal at Disney World (they sent it back!) or having a childhood pet die. It effects you more than you expect. But that’s ok. all the things you loved about that particular piece can be found in something else. Maybe it wasn’t yours to begin with. You saw something in a tea shop or on ebay and thought of all the teas you could make with it and everything was lovely. But you missed out, someone else bought it :( what do you do? stop drinking tea because the piece you were going to use isn’t available? No. you move past it and find something else. 

This lesson is useful in many moments of everyday life. Being present and appreciating the now. I don’t have that teapot I have this one. My friend is in another country but I do have a wonderful tea friend with me right now. That flower I saw in the woods won’t be there in a week but I can enjoy it here. Now. 

Drink the tea that is right for the moment. Sometimes there is not a tea for the moment and that’s ok too. Get to know your teas and yourself to know which moments are which. I think you will find, as I have experienced, the right teas for the right moment make for incredible, memorable moments of clarity. 

I used to be depressed and weak

When still in high school, I used to cry myself to sleep every night. I felt that life was unfair, that I wasn’t worthy of happiness or good enough. The smallest thing could knock me out entirely. 

I thought that I would feel like that forever. Weak, vulnerable. Those feelings didn’t last forever. I got older, let new people into my life, said good bye to the ones who treated me poorly and started to acknowledge myself. Seeing myself in a different light and understand that I do deserve happiness and love. I gradually started saying no to doing things I didn’t want to do for people who would never do the same for me. 

When I look back at the girl I once used to be and the woman I am today I wish I could go back and tell that sad girl that things do get better and although life have felt unfair, tough, and pointless for years, it will get better. 
But I can’t. What I can do, is sharing my story and hope that someone who feels like that sad girl reads this and start trying to change the picture they have of themselves and reevaluate how they let people treat them. You are your biggest enemy. Love yourself, see the good things in life and understand that you do deserve the best in life. We accept the love we think we deserve.
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We’ve all been at a table when someone has used this phrase. While it sounds good, even noble in a way, this phrase is often used as a defense against legitimate criticism of someone’s in-character action. While you should be free to play your character, it’s equally important that you bring a character that contributes to the game.