Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why I became my own gardener.

"I really need to spend more time outside."  I told myself over and over again, every time I listed ways to improve my mood and health.  "I really should exercise more."  You already read the title of the post, so the answer is obvious to you, but it wasn't too me.  Time and time again I'd tell myself these things and I'd even have success, sometimes.

Eventually the answer donned on me.  Well us, actually, as it occurred to my husband as well.  When we reconstructed our backyard, we did with the intent of making it as easily as possible for us to maintain ourselves.  And then we dove in.  We purchased a few basic tools; a push mower, a blower, a rake, trimmers; and we started working.

I believe and I am healthier and happier when I spend time outside, and if I wasn't convinced before the kids, I certainly am now.  The fresh air invigorates and charges them, and a day with time outside is noticeably easier for everyone.  If this is true for them, why wouldn't it be for me?

I never actually intended to have a gardener.  I grew up with a father who did all yard work, maintenance and repairs himself.  Prior to purchasing my home, I bounced around apartments for a while.  I remember a few weeks in to living in our new home, I noticed in passing that the grass was a bit long.  It wasn't until our neighbor told us that she'd had her gardener trim the grass that I realized with embarrassment that this was now MY responsibility.  So her gardener became my gardener as I struggled with the overwhelming realities of owning our first home. 

But now, I savor the chance to escape outside for a few hours to rake, and plant and trim.

This decision isn't without it's downsides.  I am not in the running for the most immaculately maintained yard on the block. And there are days (or weeks or maybe a month here and there) when the grass goes untrimmed and the leaves unraked.  But they serve as a reminder that I need to do get outside and exercise and it causes an immediate and visual consequence of failing to do so.

This isn't a condemnation of having a gardener or even an encouragement to take on your own yard work.  Rather, it's an example of the way that I'm working to make the processes and outcomes I want in life work together with the my daily habits and activities.  For me, it's not enough to say "I will go outside each day." Or even "I will exercise twice a week."  It's better to plan to make all of the things around me conspire together towards my ultimate purposes. 

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