« Philosophy begins with wonder.»
Hello, young Padawan
Bad weather here in France; I hope you’re not climate-sensitive, in which case, put on a sweater, take a deep breath, good luck, and soon start the ski season! Well, you know your loyal servant loves snow, and let’s say that last year has been a bit “frustrating” for skiers and snowboarders in here. So much white and no ski lifts. So, all my condolences to those who love the great sun; I guess since the skiers haven’t had a season, they’ve decided to confine your summer too, this must explain that, I suppose.
A little philosophical post today from a gardener in depression. No, I’m kidding; Wholefoods Market is almost in front of my house, nothing serious, dear Padawan. I wanted, in fact, to tell you about the beautiful lesson in humility that I received this year. A nice slap in my pride as a modern human being, perhaps, pretentious, certainly, who was convinced that because you succeed once in the garden, you have understood everything in the art of making things grow. No pun intended.
But for this, a little contextualization is necessary …
The vice of happy learning.
Last year, as an expert in strawberry gardening, I told myself that the rest shouldn’t be much more complicated. So I decided to try my hand at plantations. No worries, I’m talking about legal plantings, dear Padawan. Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, basil, in short, enough to make good homemade salads for the summer. Unpretentious and from my modest balcony, I had undertaken my project with beauty, glory, and love for green leaves. The result? I had a mountain of tomatoes; I didn’t know what to do with my so many cucumbers, so I concluded that it wasn’t rocket science to grow things, with my little too much pride.
Because the years go by and are not alike, and the garden belongs to the kingdom of Mother Nature and no one else, we discover sooner or later that it is she who decides whether, like last year, you are going to eat tomatoes bigger than your fist from mid-May, or if, like this year, you are going to wait until the end of July or even mid-August to taste, possibly, three poor cherry tomatoes. So, no diva here, there are still some successes this year: Basil is taking too much place in its pot, like its friends the other aromatic herbs, there are at least thirty tomatoes in preparation, the strawberries have been there and are starting a new season, and the lemon tree is happily “lemoning” and will be ready and ripe for this fall-winter. I also tried a butternut seed out of curiosity, so count on me to take a picture of the monster – if it grows.
Only here, compared to last year and the fact that I didn’t have the opportunity to eat a single tomato from my production yet, the 2021 small garden is really modest. Here is the life of a young gardener. Our plants do not always grow at their best and in the same way every year; a nice lesson in humility to realize that it’s not so easy to grow your food, after all.
Life is as fair as the garden.
Just as it is not that easy to grow your own food, the success of your projects is not automatic, even though your work has been really hard in both cases.
Effort and commitment are not everything. However, if we listen to the endless refrain of certain personal development books, your faithful servant being one of the hard workers – between the intense working hours, the training in addition to the working time, the few vacations taken and the number of sacrifices – I should currently be multibillionaire, way ahead of Bill Gates, lol. And I know even much deserving people who should have him as a handyman. So no, hard work, motivation, commitment, all of this does not necessarily lead to the life of your dreams. So be careful not to believe chimeras at the risk of taking a huge slap in the face. Life is not fair.
If we are honest and really open our eyes, we see, for example, two factors that have nothing to do with work.
The address book and the social environment. Many other criteria must also be taken into accounts, such as luck, which always has its small – or big – part to play. Moreover, in my entourage, a very talented and successful man keeps telling me that without luck, not only would he not have had the same career, but he would not have had a career at all.
All this to tell you, dear Padawan, that no matter how hard you work in your garden, if there are frosts in late spring, if it is raining a lot and it is too cold during the summer season, your talent, your investment, or your commitment will have nothing to do with it. You have not been unworthy, and even if you do not leave with the medal of the great winner, you have not lost everything because there is a lesson to be learned that only a failure can bring you: You have learned, and next time you will know.
Have confidence in your journey and be proud of your failures. We live in a world where noble qualities such as work, ambition, perseverance are no longer necessarily enough. So if you don’t pick the gold medal this time around, don’t lose confidence in yourself and be proud of how far you’ve come. You may have motivated people around you, you have surely been useful, and above all, you have gained your greatest wealth there: experience.
Life is not binary; it is not a job for a fruit, and above all, always remember that life’s goal is not to be fair (see my article here). That is what makes life piss us off and disappoints us sometimes, for sure, but it is what makes it so tremendously interesting, hectic, challenging, motivating, and so precious.