I love the saying, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.” When life gets a wee bit too stressful for me, digging in the dirt is a great way to get perspective—unless it’s dark outside, then wine is the best way to get perspective.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the connections between gardening and life.
• You can’t control the outcome. As gardeners, we hope the seeds we plant will grow to be healthy and bountiful. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes your tomatoes catch blight, your bok choi is infested with gnarly bugs, and your strawberries don’t produce as much fruit as you had hoped. No matter how much care you put into your plants, you may end up disappointed in the end.
You can’t control the outcome in life either. You could work your ass off in a job and get passed over for a promotion or fired. You could pour yourself into a relationship or friendship and not receive the love you deserve in return. The only things you can control are your actions, your emotions and your perceptions.
• It takes work. Gardening is hard work. There are always plants to water, weeds to pull and fruits to harvest. Even during the winter “off-season” you still have to plan for the next year, prepare your garden beds, and tend to the crops you planted in your cold frames. There’s no downtime; just less work during certain points of the year.
Life is work. Whether you’re working on advancing your career or tending to a relationship, you have to put in work. From the day my youngest son was born two months ago, it’s been all about baby. Compared to my 3 year old, who is very independent, the baby takes up more of my time even though he sleeps for most of the day. I know that every 3 hours, the baby will wake up, eat, maybe spend some time on his belly and then sleep. It’s all very predictable, and I know that I have to get as much as I can done within those three hours. Scheduling is my new friend!
• The harvest is sweet. Sometimes, quite literally. I don’t know about you, but when I pick that first snap pea or strawberry or plum, I’m stoked! I tell everyone I run into, snap photos with my phone and savor the first bite. There’s something special about the first and final harvests of the plants.
When you reap the rewards of your hard work, it’s the highest high. Landing your dream job or watching your child take his first steps is amazing. Can life get any better?