As the name of my blog will tell you, we are in the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a very long process toward a functioning urban homestead. My intent is to be completely honest with what we have done, and what we haven't, and not try to make it out like we have some robust beautiful garden. We don't. Yet.
Our greenhouse during the winter months.
Gayla from You Grow Girl has started a "creative writing club for people who love to garden," with wonderful prompts. I have decided to jump in, so here is my first post answering the prompt: Write about your first Plant.
Gardening is in my DNA. Both my parents had incredible green thumbs, and my childhood homes and yards were always overflowing with all manner of trees, vegetables, flowers, herbs and houseplants. My Dad was a gardener and landscaper and my uncle grew fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmers markets. Our half acre held a small orchard that had been planted there years before my family moved in- and as a small child I remember picking all kinds of apples, cherries, apricots and peaches. They usually got turned into delicious pies and cobblers cooked by my mother the same day they were picked, or saved for jams and jellies.
On hot summer evenings, when the sun started setting, my Mom would spend hours outside tending the garden. She would water row upon row of vegetables, do the weeding, then come in at night with basketfuls and spend the rest of the night cooking up her harvest. Our front yards were an explosion of color from dozens of varieties of flowers. In the spring, we would head to the local nursery and go on flower filled shopping sprees. These memories define my childhood.
Six months ago I found myself at my naturopath's office complaining of depression, heavy fatigue and a general feeling of "Blah." She asked me a purposefully broad and vague question: "What do you like? What makes you feel good?" I looked out her window and replied "the Sun." She had me tested for vitamin D deficiency and not surprisingly, I was low.
I say that this is not surprising despite the fact that I live in a climate that sees sunshine 350 days a year. I personally never saw it because my last two jobs had been in a basement. Four years of sun deprivation to a person who so dearly loves and craves its warmth and light.
I had already taken some major steps towards my goal of being happier. I had quit an intensely stressful job that had left me with adrenal fatigue (aka the first three years of basement life), and found a more positive, less stressful environment (though it just so happened to also be in a basement). I had somewhat impulsively begun a yoga teacher training program, after walking out of a hot yoga session feeling better than I had in ages, and hoping that yoga would hold some secret key to energy and contentment.
Following the advice of my best friend, and recently certified life coach, I made a "big old list" of things that made me happy: Sun, yoga, live bluegrass, being home on a Monday (or Tuesday, or..), my dogs, my cats, my husband, my best friends, chopping vegetables, eating outside, doing physical projects (even digging irrigation ditches outside inexplicably improved my mood immensely), drinking tea, exploring new places, anything that made me feel self-reliant, flowy skirts and dresses, tank tops, funky jewelry- I began to be able to picture the life that I thought might make me happy. And my current job, working 8-5 five days a week, inside, for someone else, wasn't it.
So now, five years into the career that I have worked and studied for, and lived and breathed- I have decided to give it all up. For the grand experiment of trying to live a life that fulfills me and makes me happy. This means leaving my profession, and the steady paycheck and healthcare it provides and leaping into the unknown and hoping to fly. I am starting from scratch.
Its terrifying and exciting to start all over again, and to go down a path so different than the cultural norm., but I've always loved adventure and you only live once.
Have you ever taken a huge career leap? What made it worth it for you?