What My Garden Taught Me About Life

I was sitting out in the backyard earlier this afternoon when I looked over at the remnants of my summer vegetable garden. It was bordering on lifeless, with only a few tomatoes left ripening on the vines. A few of their brethren that I had overlooked were laying in the dirt decomposing.

While seeing this sorry state, I was hit by the sudden realization that this garden, any garden, is a close representation of life.

I am not the first to notice this, nor will I be the last. However, I never felt this comparison so deeply until earlier today.

The past few months have contained much introspection. I have been reevaluating my job, career path, relationships with friends and family, romantic relationships, passions, dreams, values, fears, and more.

I have come to realize how unfulfilled I have felt in so many areas of my life. That I wasn’t getting enough.

I used to blame others and life, in general, for all my woes. I was a victim of God, the universe, bullying, or whatever else I felt was unfair.

The inner work I have been doing has shown me that nearly all of my perceived issues stem from my own shortcomings. My lack of being present and aware, being self-absorbed in a way I didn’t think was possible, negative and abusive self-talk, and more.

The state of my vegetable garden brought all of this together for me because of this:

I first started the garden back in late May or early June full of zeal and excitement. I remember vividly how happy I was to have a project to lose myself in while also getting my hands dirty and connecting with the earth.

The first few days and weeks were wonderful as I would add new vegetable plants and tend to the garden as a whole. Every day I would spend a few minutes pottering around, watering, and even talking to the vegetables and flowers I had purchased and planted.

After a few weeks, however, the garden began to lose its hold on me. More accurately, I began to care less. I had been able to get the impulse out of my system and now that there wasn’t much to do but observe and occasionally water, I cared less.

The enthusiasm returned for a bit when the garden began yielding produce. But after a while, I could only get so excited about newly ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, or zucchini.

Fast-forward to the end of summer, earlier this afternoon to be precise, and the garden honestly looks a bit sad. At lest, that’s how it makes me feel to look at it.

Was it the garden’s fault I lost interest?

No. Just like it always isn’t the fault of some external force (whether it be a person or a situation), it was ultimately my responsibility to tend to the garden. I stopped nurturing it because it didn’t give me the same rush of excitement and pride as it did originally.

The state of that garden proved to me that I was solely responsible for the outcomes in my own life.

I helped to build the box. I picked the 30+ bags of soil and poured them into the box. I selected, purchased, and planted the flowers, herbs, and vegetables. I determined when to water and how frequently.

Yes, it is the “job” of the plants to grow and yield vegetables for my consumption. There are also some things I can’t control, such as the weather. But there will not be a successful harvest without my direct involvement.

I am also the one who neglected the plants, let the herbs dry, and allowed quite a few tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini to waste away on the vine or in the dirt.

This is analogous to any endeavor in life. Whether it be a relationship, career, or project, it is our direct involvement that ultimately contributes to anything bearing fruit (or vegetables, to keep in line with my garden theme).

How can I expect anything in my life to flourish if I am not consistently tending to and nurturing it?

If we truly want results in anything, we must exhibit that consistency even when there are times where the excitement wears off a bit.

The lesson this revelation is helping to imprint into my mind is to be more present, more caring, more nurturing, and more dedicated to whatever I deem to be important.

I can’t complain about the results if I know I have not given my best.

The unknown I am now left with, and hope to learn sooner than later, is how to care more? How do I find what to care about and then how do I keep caring? Questions that I know plague many of us.

Until those answers come, let us try to more consistently put 100% effort into our relationships, work, and dreams.

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Author: Aristidis Marousas

My goal is to create and share stories, fictional and nonfictional, that will entertain, educate, and inspire those who find it. Why? I believe this world is so large and that it is incredibly important for each of us to open ourselves up to it. We no longer have an excuse to remain inside of our little bubbles. While there is pain, suffering, and heartbreak, there is also incredible beauty to be found across the globe. I’d like to do my own small part in exposing us all to as many stories of humanity as I can. I truly believe that by doing so, we will all be better for it. My goal is to help you better "Experience Your World".

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