Aloha! I hope you all are well!
I haven’t been that diligent about blogging in my first month in Hawaii. Last night, another farming intern told me that I should. So here I am, trying again. Plus, I’m sure my mom will like it.
My life is pretty simple nowadays. I get up and either plant or harvest lettuce. I recently got a new job of watering the baby lettuce (pics to come). That whole process takes four to five hours. Sometimes longer. We try to stop before it gets too hot outside. Then, I relax: read, go to the beach, nap, etc. It’s a very different pace of life from my get up early to go to one job, then another job, then go to the gym, then go home late and do more work at night. And let’s not even attempt to recollect what college was like…
I’ve had many insights since being here but I’ll divulge two right now.
The first, and relating to the second, is I think the purpose of life is to grow. As I have been watering the seeds, I have admired how amazingly they grow. That’s their only goal in “life”. And they’re pretty fantastic at it – especially when they have what they need. I also admire how well plants tell you what they need. Anyone who knows about horticulture or just gardening knows what I mean. There’s a way of understanding the leaves to know exactly what to give it. It’s not complicated, it’s not passive. It just simply “says”, “I need nitrogen”, or “I need less water”, etc. And I can give it to them. The plants aren’t worried if they will get it or not. They just keep growing and receive what they need as simply as they ask for it.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could be this simple-focused? If instead of trying to please everyone, ‘fit in’ with society, or any other myriad of behaviors we do as a social species, we could just focus on growing. Growing spiritually, emotionally, interpersonally. If instead of life being about climbing to cooperate ladder, it was to develop into the most full ‘lettuce’, the most nutrient-dense ‘lettuce’, the most helpful to whoever it is we get to serve. It reminds of Brene Brown’s work of growing into your most authentic self [side note: if you haven’t heard of Brene Brown’s work, stop reading my amateur blog right now and go watch her TED talk on vulnerability]. I have come to realize in my lettuce affairs that being authentically me is the most valuable thing I could bring to this hurting world.
This brings me to my second insight.
I’ve mentioned my career escapades before. I realized a lot of that journey was me trying to find something that would ‘please’ society, look ‘good’ on a resume, or ‘make’ people proud. I wanted something that when I was at a cocktail party, I could say “I am a _____!”, AKA “Look how worthy I am of your attention!” Well, that’s a load of crap. Plus, I don’t even like cocktail parties. The more I grow into myself, and the more experience I get in this thing called life, the more I see how insignificant money, prestige, and impressing people are. Because there’s always going to be a point in which I say I wish I had more. Or when someone somewhere knows more. Or when someone somewhere doesn’t like me. So why should I seek for more when I know it’s a facade?
So, instead of choosing some ‘profession’ or ‘career’ as a means to get to horticultural therapy (refer to my previous post), I realized I could just become a horticultural therapist. No doctorate. No masters. Just a handful of undergraduate classes at a community college. I will have a certification because that’s how the field works. But I get to start the work I actually want to do NOW instead of gaining the prestige now and doing what I actually want later. And I’ll get a full paying job in just a few years.
Is it as glamorous as saying “I am a doctor” or “I am a physical therapist”? No, not really. Does it make as much money? Nope. Is it safer from a job security perspective. No. Does it make my heart sing every time I think about it? Yes. Definitely.
And if life is all about growing into who I authentically am so I can serve others to the best of my ability, and if I can trust that I will have what I need to grow as the lettuce does, then those other things don’t matter. Money is a tool. Prestige is a tool. They are not bad but they aren’t the harvest. Loving and serving other people and our beautiful planet is the harvest.
Anywho, that’s enough for now!
Mahalo for reading!