Jasmine Tea

As I write this I am having a great day. I’m sitting in my in-laws place and they happen to be out of town. I’m not saying it’s great they aren’t here but it’s just nice to be alone with Eliz and Niko. We have roommates at our place and we are always visiting with people so it’s nice for it to be just us.  Eliz is sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace. Niko is sprawled out making sure to touch both of us and I’m on a recliner sipping Jasmine Green Tea that we bought during our trip to Bahrain.

This tea costs a bit of money. It was like $15 for a small bag. It’s the most expensive tea I’ve ever bought. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying this to show off. It’s just I never thought I would ever buy tea at this price. I’m Turkish. Tea is a big deal to us. Yet, we only know of one. Good old black tea. We steep it in Turkey of course. It’s pretty amazing how much tea Turkish people drink.

You have a guest over. Tea.

You go over to someones to quick to pick something up. Can’t leave without tea.

You go to the mechanic. Even there they offer you tea.

In fact, there is literally a job in Turkey, Çaycı, which translates to Tea Server. This is an actual profession. You could go to a jewellery store in Turkey and you’ll see the Çaycı pop his head in and out carrying tea. It’s actually pretty cool.

Why am I talking this much about tea?

Well, if it weren’t for Eliz I would’ve never bought this tea. I wouldn’t have even thought about getting it. Now, I drink a few cups a day. It tastes amazing and if relaxation came in liquid form this would be it.

As I sip the tea I realize how many other experiences I would have never had if it weren’t for Eliz. It’s quite outstanding. I’m more open to trying new things. People say it’s great to have habits and, depending on the habit, I would agree.

Habits could be negative or positive. It’s easier to fall into negative habits. You don’t need as much effort for them. I’m trying to make more positive habits. For instance, I’m trying to make a habit of trying something new. Doesn’t have to be everyday but definitely more often.

My schedule last few years went something like this. Wake up around 8:30. Quick breakfast then start work at 9. I did have long instances where I would wake up at 8 and actually meditate for 20 minutes before starting work. Then I would do what I needed for work and around 5 I would get to the gym. I’d play basketball until about 7.

When I got home, I’d have dinner then sit and watch a game until I slept.

I don’t think this is the right way to do things anymore. Nowadays I wake up earlier. I actually reserve time for reading. I haven’t been meditating as much as I like but I’m going to make time for that too. I’ve been thinking about my future and I just don’t want to fall into a rhythm where it’s the same thing day in and day out. That’s not living. In my eyes, that may actually be dying.

This doesn’t mean, go out and get yourself a small bag of $15 tea. I’m only suggesting that you take a look at yourself. Take a look at things that you simply aren’t doing that you want to do. This doesn’t have to be something enormous. Even something small like going ice skating. I remember Eliz and I went a few years ago. She tried to teach me. I learned how to skate, but I didn’t learn how to stop. It’s a great memory for me. It’s something so simple.

Trying new things should be a habit for everyone. I tell myself “Be First” in the mornings. Read this in Tools of Titans. What I took out of it was, be the first person to smile at someone walking by or the first one to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I’ve been doing this lately and it’s already had great ROI. I’m making a habit of it.

Thanks to Niko I’m making a habit of getting out and going on walks more. I’m starting to research parks. I never would have done that before. Canada has so much nature to offer and I never used even think of taking advantage of it. Well, I’m reinventing myself and going to parks and camping are things I’ll definitely be doing going forward.

I’m (what’s another word for cheap) good with money. When Eliz suggested we buy $15 tea the hair on my neck shot up like Niko’s does when he hears a knock at the door. I know for sure Mehmet a year ago would have put up a bigger fight. Now, I think, why not? If I actually achieve my goals then I don’t need to be worrying about spending this money. That’s how I am approaching decisions more and more.

This doesn’t mean just go out and spend money trying to find happiness. I don’t think you can find happiness that way. However, I also think being cheap and not spending any money because that’s all you ever think about isn’t a way to find happiness either. I get it, we should be responsible with money. Save, invest and all of that. I also think it is unwise to think we are taking any of this money with us. Is $15 worth an argument? Is it worth the regret of not having bought the tea and having a craving for it weeks later?

Money is interesting. Francis Bacon said “Money is a great servant but a bad master.” That’s a great quote. If I always make every single decision, even something as small as $10, as I often used to, with calculations and intensity then who is really the master?

I paid off my school loans in 18 months after my graduation day. Roughly $28,000. I went to war with my student loans. I was lucky enough to still be living at my parents and worked part time for 6 months then full time the subsequent year, all at the same company. I was on contract then hired.  I still think I did the right thing with that money. I didn’t want to be another person that complained about their student loans. I also didn’t want to have a monthly payment I needed to make. Maybe I could’ve done something different with that amount of money. The interest on a student loan from OSAP isn’t that much. I may have been better off using the money as a down payment on a house or something. I didn’t really know about interest rates. They never teach you that in school. Think about that for a second. They don’t teach you interest rates in school until maybe university. Interest rates and how credit cards make money should be taught in high school, before you even think about getting a credit card, but I digress.

Basically, I don’t want to be cheap anymore and I want to make a habit of trying new things. Maybe being in tune with nature is the best of both worlds. It doesn’t cost much to visit parks. Especially this year when Canada made all national parks free admission. My entire life I always thought about the implications of buying something as small as a coffee. I would think, if I buy a coffee and it costs approximately $3 with tax then over a year it would come to this much and over 5 years it will add up to this much and blah blah blah. Like, dude, if you want a coffee, just get one. Relax a bit. It’s not like I drink one everyday.

I’m not an expert on money and I’m not claiming to be. I’m saying there are things that we all do when we speak to ourselves. I was hard on myself for the way I used money and in some ways, maybe I let money be my master. I’ve said in my blogs before, I’m just trying to be easier on myself and this is a place that I think I can be kinder on myself about.

At the end of the day, whether it was $5, $15 or $50, that tea brought us happiness and every time I drink it I am reminded of that great day we went for a stroll with my sister and mom in Bahrain. That memory is worth a lot more than $15. If I decided to put up a fight I may have saved some money but I know I would’ve deprived Eliz of something she wanted and it may have caused a rift between us. Is that worth $15? Definitely not.

I’m looking within more and more each day to find out how I can be happier. It actually does take hard work to be happy and I’m willing to do it. Journaling in the morning. Having a great workout. Working on my online store. Pushing to new heights at my work. Blogging. Having intimate conversations with loved ones. I find these are all making me happier. I will do my best to continue to do each one.


Author: Mehmet Akcagliyan

I am the Master of my Fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.

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