Tending my Garden: Why I Fail at Projects

Hi it’s your local head case!

As close friends know, I am absolutely terrible at taking care of myself. Whether it’s filing my taxes on time, making dental appointments, or waking up early– Your girl doesn’t exactly have her life together!

However, I am much better at taking care of other things than I am with myself. There’s a whole can-o-worms within that statement, but let’s just sum it up to, “what I take care of, ends up taking care of me“. I like that a lot better than any alternatives.

So, let’s get into it!

Plant Care Addiction

Ah yes, the most expected of hobbies amongst budding adults. I played every cliche of plant girl one can imagine– Started with succulents, then tropical plants, before diving headfirst into starting an herb garden. Some may argue it’s basic… And I’m embracing that!

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Growing plants taught me how impatient I am. With my string of past relationships (oh no, she’s talking about it again), I always indignantly cried how patient I was and lamented how I forgiving I was. While current Ava argues how most of this was right, growing plants forced me to swallow a heavy pill that I tend to like immediate results.

The cluttering started out simply enough. I had dreams of succulent clusters, clouds of herbs, and a cacti garden. What resulted was failed propagation, rotting roots, and the horrifying realization that it can take weeks for plants to grow roots in water.

They Won’t Stop Dying

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The most powerful moment I had was with my cacti, which were favors from a friend’s wedding. I’ve had them for a year and I’ve always wanted to nurture them to grow huge! When I finally had the opportunity to give my cacti proper space to grow, I jumped on it. Day by day, I checked their soil and watered them when I felt it was too dry.

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One day, I decided to take a picture and post to Instagram about how I was nursing my cactus from dry husks to plump, pokey babies. A friend, the same one who inspires me daily about plant care, thoughtfully messaged me about how it looked like they were molding. She continued, saying the mold was, “pretty bad” and how it might be better if I threw them away and started over. They were small and would not be a huge loss.

This devastated me.

She Quits, As Expected

Little annoyances often have deep roots. I was so discouraged about a pair of cacti, I almost lost all interest in plants. See, I’m the kind of person where if one thing goes wrong, I throw away the whole project. It’s happened with podcasts, comics, and even a budding YouTube channel. I can’t stand the slightest of failure. I rather throw everything away and start something new!

What’s worse, when I see the project again, it only reminds me of that one failure! Terrible! Horrible! Why would I ever do that again! How embarrassing.

“I don’t know,” I told my partner. “I think I’m just going to throw them away when I get home. I’m so upset, but I guess I know better.”

He sighed, probably thinking this was a familiar tune. However, he’s used to my attitude of giving up at the slightest of hiccups. Luckily, he knows how to talk to me.

Thoughtfully, he responds, “Why are you giving up? Didn’t your friend said to try drying them? They’re not dead yet.”

“They might as well be.” My response is so pitiful, that I cringe.

“You have to stop giving up. Just leave them out. If they die, then we can get more.”

“Sure.”

Stubbornly, I don’t want to hope that it’s going to get better. I start thinking about how my cacti are going to die and how I’m going to tell him how it was always hopeless. It’s going to be months until I buy cactus again because just the sight of them is going to remind of failure. What’s the point? What’s the use?

It’s not until five minutes of zoning out the window that I’m hit upon a terrible realization– I am addicted to being sad.

Learning to Step Back

I love immediate results. Insecure by nature, I like having the validation that I have some kind of worth. I stopped updating my art instagram when I started losing followers, stopped selling my art when I wasn’t making money, and stopped applying to UI/UX after one failed interview. My biggest flaw is stepping away before I had the chance to really try.

But I am trying, I am. It’s why I’m starting this blog again. Baby steps, I think, for writing and practicing my dream job. Storytelling through words, images, and feelings.

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I looked up at my partner, excited. “Look! Come look!”

He walks outside as I turn to show him the clay bowl. It’s something I bought when I first started getting into succulents. My dream was to have my first succulents grow in there.

There’s a number of cacti in the bowl. One is from my trip to Arizona and another is one a friend gave me. However, in the middle of the bowl are two, plump cacti. They no longer have the yellow mold in them. Instead, the glow a deep green and their roots are growing steady, day by day.

It took longer than expected, but after leaving my cacti dry for a few weeks, they are healed and are far bigger than when I first bought them home.

In Conclusion

My dream is to be a remote writer, who illustrates on her free time. I want to tend my garden, take care of my dog, and have a million hobbies. Why can’t I do that? Why do I blame the universe for choices I make?

I can’t say I’m satisfied with my current job. It makes end’s meet and I am able to take care of my bills, but that’s about it. Complaining about it offers immediate satisfaction, but it really does nothing for my goals.

At least my cacti are alive. Now, looking at them, I’m not filled with a sense of failure. Rather, I am reminded what it means to stay hopeful and patient.

In fact, if my cacti represent my budding growth, then I can’t wait until I get into this next stage in my life:

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Life ain’t so bad!

Thanks for reading.

Until next time!

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