I have discovered the secret to a good life: keeping a garden.
What do people think they need to have a good, happy life? Most would probably say something like good relationships, staying healthy and in shape, more money, a sense of security, and the feeling you get from doing good. People go about obtaining these things in some very unusual ways these days, many of which are not connected in any logical way. Every day I am challenged at work to help people draw connections between their activities to understand how to make the system more sustainable. My own discovery was that bringing balance to one system that you have control over: YOUR LIFE, has a very simple answer: grow a garden.
Having a garden immediately gives you the opportunity to expand and/or deepen relationships. This could be with you neighbor who wants to trade cuttings, or the elderly woman next door who really appreciates extra carrots or zucchini. Gardens also give you a go-to conversation topic that almost everyone can relate to. Gardening is also a good group activity. Get your kids involved (and outside!) by having them help water or weed or pick flowers. It is a good bonding time for spouses too…I know my fiancé likes to be needed for moving heavy stuff or helping me outside.
Gardening gives you time to also cultivate a relationship with someone else important: you. Gardening, even with others around, is a great time to think and enjoy some solitude. Well, solitude until you cat comes by to lie in the dirt. Then you get to bond with your cat.
2. More Money
We would all like to make more money, or at least have more to spend. How much do you spend on groceries every week? Having a garden can help reduce the amount you are spending on food because you can grow some of your own produce and herbs. This can be done on any scale, and every little bit counts to save you some green while putting green on your plate.
3. Get that Vitamin D
The natural feel-good drug! Getting outside to work in the sun will boost your mood…essential for being happy and healthy!
Gardening is hard work. Have a gym membership? If you have a garden you could probably ditch it. With the work you are putting in outside you probably don’t have time to go anyway, and it will save you $$$ too (see #2). Hauling weeds, digging, carrying plants, pruning bushes…it’s a workout! Hello toned arms and back! If you need more, how about go on a walk down the street to look at other people’s gardens for inspiration…you may even meet some more neighbors and friends (see #1). If this is still not enough do some old fashioned sit ups and pushups in the front yard. This will also help you get your vitamin D (see #3).
5. Bettering the Planet
Having a garden makes you feel good. You are reducing your carbon footprint by growing some of your food at home (no matter how little…it all helps!) and cultivating plants that make the world beautiful and take carbon out of the air. You feel accomplished when you look out and see your progress, and find new challenges to achieve (I CAN get the stubborn weed!). Gardening just feels good.
Now that you have the reasoning, go find yourself some dirt and play in it! I promise it will help you find yourself on the path to a better life.