For the last three months I’ve been working in my garden about six hours a day. I dug up an acre of land.

The first thing I did was plant a vegetable garden that is 50 yards long and 10 yards wide. I planted everything I had ever seen people grow in my area. Next I added paths and walls and stairs and bridges. I spent the majority of my time as a new mom in New York City wandering around the Brooklyn Botanical Garden trying to figure out what to do with my life, napping among the cherry blossom trees with my son. So it’s not surprising that I found myself subconsciously turning my acre into a miniature of that garden. There are twenty different rose bushes. Twenty varieties of peonies. I drove eight hours to bring home obscure types of hydrangeas.

Once we were in a full-on drought, I was watering every day. So I started adding stuff that didn’t need water. Like a tree house.

The kids spent all day in the treehouse. They ate their meals there. They brought the cats up there. And they started carrying up their favorite books.

I, on the other hand, climbed up and down the ladder, looking at my garden from up high and then rearranging the rows and the groupings so that it looked more organized from high in the tree.

Then I went to the Madison Children’s Museum. I am not a fan of this sort of place. I was planning on taking a Xanax to get myself through the deadly combination of too many people, too much noise, and insane boredom from keeping track of kids.

But on the second story someone deconstructed the floorboards of a gymnasium, brought them to the museum, and put them back, but out of order. So it’s like a Kandinsky gym floor. I told myself that I could not be in a bad mood in the face of such great creativity.

Then we got to the rooftop garden. It was a very small space and the designer managed to fit small hills, walls to walk on, a sculpture to climb over, and an arch covered in evergreens to walk under. The garden was magical. It looked like we weren’t on a roof. Also, the garden leverages synergies between unexpected combinations of plants. Corn grew next to black-eyed susans. The combination looks right because they are the same height. There was swiss chard next to hostas. They look good together because their leaves are similar.

Immediately my garden felt too rigid. Uncreative. I worked so hard and I didn’t do anything as fantastic as this. I told myself I should have hired a landscape architect. I told myself you cannot buy taste and it is embarrassing how much money I spent on plants. I am quick to go from not liking one thing I did to not liking my whole existence. So I squeezed in some self-hatred time while the kids were petting the chickens that wander like pets.

The garden at the Children’s Museum is on trend. (If you want to read about really trendy gardening, read Edible Landscaping.) But I am not on trend. And this morning I woke up and it finally rained a very hard rain, so I don’t need to water. And I felt stuck. I didn’t even want to look at my garden because I wonder, “How will I make it like the Children’s Museum?”

In the city, a garden is about bringing nature closer to every day life. In the country, a garden is about creating order from an abundance of nature.

So look. I am not on trend. And in order to be comfortable with that, I had to figure out why I’m not on trend. Why does following the current trend not intuitive to me? Stressing that I did things wrong comes from not knowing why I did it differently.

You are probably stressing about doing something wrong right now. Missing a trend. I know you are, because I’ve been doing it my whole life—stressing that I’m not doing what other people are doing. Here are two examples of trends that are hard to buck right now. But they are like city gardening. They are right for many people, but not everyone.

Entrepreneurship:
Yes, it’s true that people who have their own company don’t have to do what they are told. They don’t have to keep regular hours. And they can put CEO on their business card. Yes, it’s job security. But you know what? It’s high risk, it’s financially ruinous, it’s a high-divorce rate, and it’s for people with an insane drive to be right. Research from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business shows that people who do start-ups don’t want to be rich as much as they want to be respected for being right about something. Not very many people are driven by the need to be right. And of those people, not many are willing to risk their personal stability to make sure everyone knows they are right.

So you can be fine climbing the corporate ladder. There is structure and stability in that life, and there is nothing wrong with it. It’s not true that the only smart people are entrepreneurs. It’s true that the smart people look at their core needs and figure out how to address them. Entrepreneurship is not right for everyone. And when you start a company just because you want to be on trend, you look like a misplaced stalk of corn.

Advice: Look at your personality type:  if you have an S in it, it’s not likely that you should start a company. If you have a history of extreme financial instability you probably shouldn’t create more by starting a company. Look at  your core needs, and address those. You do not have a core need to be famous like Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, striving to be famous is an occupational hazard of the start-up world.

Careerism:
It is not fashionable to say you want to grow up and take care of kids. There is nothing set up for you to do if you know you want to be a stay-at-home mom and you are 23 years old. How do you navigate the work world when you know it is temporary? When people ask what you’ve been doing, it is very uncool to say “I’ve been looking for a breadwinner to marry.” The world is set up for everyone to focus on earning money in their 20s, which obviously does not make sense for people who will have only a short 6-8 years when they will have to support themselves.

The world screams from all angles that it’s important to be able to support yourself. You will have to buck a trend to say, “I don’t want to support people financially. I want to support them emotionally.” Because that’s what a housewife does. Today it’s revolutionary to be a housewife. And I have a feeling that most women who aspire to this have days when they feel like me, sitting at the edge of my garden, thinking that all my time is stupid and wasted. It’s hard to know how to manage yourself when you’re bucking a trend.

Advice: Lie. Tell people you are focusing on work even though you’re not. Because bucking a trend is so difficult, and so disconcerting, that if you can hide it temporarily, until you get your footing, that strikes me as a very good idea. And remember: don’t let people tell you you’re a sponge for having kids and not earning money. It’s just as much a sponge for men to have kids and leave the house every day to do an easier job than taking care of them. The world is full of ways to be a sponge. We just don’t call it that when people are on trend. On trend, we call it synergy.

Bucking a trend is something that does not feel good to do. People like to be like everyone else—just better than everyone else. It’s not bucking a trend to be a great entrepreneur. It’s bucking a trend to say you want to climb a ladder. It’s not bucking a trend to work through maternity leave. It’s bucking a trend to say you want someone to support you financially. It’s scary to buck a trend, so people generally do it when they have no choice. They simply cannot live a life in the mainstream. Ask anyone who had to do things in a way that people do not respect, and they will tell you they were scared and had no choice.

One of my favorite videos is about following and trends. The video shows the first person doing something weird. And the person really, truly does look weird. It’s clear that the person has no choice. The person is just different and is alone being different. The second person who joins makes the first person look a lot less weird. The second person, the follower, makes people look at the first person differently. Like, maybe they should join, too.

It’s interesting that the first person does things because they can’t help it. The second person does something because they looked at the choices and the road less taken looks better.

There are trendy people. There are people who buck trends because they can’t help it. And there are people who buck trends because they are able to choose alternative paths. The person forging the path is the most innovative and the most lonely. But not the most unsure, because you can only be unsure if you have a choice.

Once you see these three ways to relate to a trend, you can understand better where you are.

For me this means that I feel better about my garden. And I am finding my own synergies: For example, if you build a treehouse the kids will be too high to step on all the plants.

 

61 replies
  1. Dl
    Dl says:

    Penelope, your garden is beautiful! Gardens are a personal expression. You shouldn’t be comparing yours to anyone else’s. And because they’re an evolving thing (figuratively and literally), each year it will be different. They will look different. They will have different meaning.

    I admire that you kept yours going this summer. I’ve worked hard on my fruits and vegetables, but my flower gardens look terrible. I’m jealous that I wasn’t so dedicated.

  2. thatgirl
    thatgirl says:

    you’re too hard on yourself sometimes, penelope!

    that you were inspired to clear land and plant/build a garden on such a large swath of space is pretty gutsy and trend-bucking–particularly if you didn’t mull it over for a year, reading every book you could about the subject, and didn’t blueprint it down to the last stepping stone. for many, this might characterize what an inspired, ornamental garden comprises.

    comparing your work to that at the museum is an exercise in self-defeat. why look over your shoulder? the gesture itself is rather painterly. as such, it should only inspire degrees of pleasure or contemplation, not invite criticism–even from your own mind.

    it sounds like you’ve put in perennials; this is where your work has its greatest potential to please you down the road. yes, it will grow and fill in the space nicely this summer, but the exciting thing is how it comes back, year on, and how you might add to it, edit, or otherwise shift elements within it as it matures. a garden is work to continue and to admire over time–not unlike many a career trajectory, except that the benefit is anything but personal.

    brava. practice patience for yourself so that you can, frequently, step back and allow the organic to happen. this is one bit of work where one cannot control every variable, which can be freeing when accepted.

  3. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    I’ve struggled with the housewife/stay-at-home mom question for years. I knew that’s what I always wanted to do, but of course you can’t put that on a college application. So ‘in the meantime,’ I got a B.S. in Neuro and then continued to grad school (the opposite of trend-bucking!). But my heart’s never been in it the way it is for being a wife, and now that I’m expecting it’s gone out the window almost entirely.

    Thank you for my new motto: “I don’t want to support people financially. I want to support them emotionally.”

    • Deborah Hymes
      Deborah Hymes says:

      I think the reason this choice is the most difficult/controversial is because supporting “others emotionally instead of financially” generally means that you need someone to support YOU financially as well. The judgment that goes with that is that you’re viewed as being just as dependent as a child. It’s infantilizing.

      We place a high premium on self-sufficiency in our society. I don’t know how to resolve that conundrum — or if it can even be done.

      • thatgirl
        thatgirl says:

        good points! it’s hard to reconcile. maybe it’s better to simply re-frame the argument one gets or the conflict they feel.

        i don’t want to make this a political discussion, but the so-called controversy around the president’s saying we never create without someone’s help is a relevant point here. for even the most self-starting, independent person, there’s been a collusion of cooperation to both bring that person to this point (we didn’t raise ourselves, no matter how challenged our childhoods may have been), and that collusion continues to help someone succeed in business or parenting. it’s short-sighted to think otherwise.

        i think we can have/embody “self sufficiency,” yet still be interdependent without shame. it’s the way families and the world continue to roll forward.

        i feel sorry for those that feel there’s some imbalance in the contributions of a partnership characterized by one with a career and another who runs a home and takes more responsibility to raise children. no one needs keep score, because, in the end, the respective contributions are equal in value.

  4. JAL
    JAL says:

    I am 24 years old. I work in advertising. I can’t wait to be a Mom. I laughed out loud when I read, “There is nothing set up for you to do if you know you want to be a stay-at-home mom and you are 23 years old. How do you navigate the work world when you know it is temporary? When people ask what you’ve been doing, it is very uncool to say “I’ve been looking for a breadwinner to marry.” I’ve been following your advice and lying like a champ. Also, your treehouse is amazing.

  5. The
    The says:

    My biggest life struggle has been against my parents who have always wanted me to be a high powered career woman. I don’t want that and it drives them crazy that my biggest dream is to have a happy family. Not emotionally empty, like theirs.

    A single mom, I have been devoting the last few years to raising my son who has autism and its been the BEST experience. Shame I can’t put it on a resume.

    I do have a S in my personality – thanks for the advice on that, too.

  6. Suzy McQ
    Suzy McQ says:

    Some of your plants appear to be planted too close to your foundation, and, visually you need a variation of leaf color, some variegated woodies and some chartreuse. Tell you what, I’ll give you advice on your garden if you find me a job. Not as a garden designer, but as an editor. I’m in my late 50’s and wonder if you are only great with advice for “youngsters.”

  7. Kim
    Kim says:

    I SO needed to hear this today. I am bucking so many trends right now I feel like a fish out of water everywhere I go. I work for myself as a Realtor (yes, in this market), I have decided to homeschool my son & I’m going to continue to work on my real estate business.

    In the end I know it’s what’s best for my family but other people just don’t agree. One faction says I should get a ‘real’ job because real estate doesn’t pay, another says my son should be in ‘real’ school, and still another says I should just quit working because my husband has a great job.

    Basically, I can’t do anything right by anyone. I’m struggling to find my own footing & be satisfied with my decisions. It’s not easy. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for your perspective.

  8. plabella
    plabella says:

    While your post was introspective and interesting (as always), the line that got me was – “…the kids were petting the chickens that wander like pets.” Simply beautiful!

  9. Esther
    Esther says:

    You could re-title this “How to get the guts to live with mental illness.”

    I tried to do the trend thing for a long time. I was a complete mess. Just recently I’ve learned that keeping up with trends is pointless for me. I fall apart. I have to carve out a life that works for me and ignore everyone else and the currents tugging me this way and that.

    I am one of those people who have no choice but to buck trends. I’m growing into it. Am I going to be a waitress for the rest of my life? Well, maybe, but at least I’ll be happy.

    Thanks for a fresh take on it.

  10. Deborah Hymes
    Deborah Hymes says:

    There are so many wonderful things in this post that speak to my heart. I never wanted to be married and have kids. The whole prospect felt like death to me. So I instinctively lied and said that I just hadn’t met the right guy yet. I got labeled as “too picky” instead of weird, which felt better to me.

    I also like that you pointed out that men who ONLY have to bring home a paycheck in order to have a family are just as “spongy” — if people need to get all judgy about it! — as women who want a breadwinner so that they can nurture a family.

    It’s great that we can all choose our own best path, but it’s never easy no matter which route you take!

    • downfromtheledge
      downfromtheledge says:

      I thought that line was a brilliant observation, too. If I could come home to someone taking care of all my needs, running the entire household, and making my life easier, work would seem like an awesome escape!

  11. Naomi
    Naomi says:

    Heh, leveraging synergies stuck out for me too!

    I get the value of emotional nurturing, and did that myself, but am flummoxed by how women can really do the stay at home mum thing without placing themselves at great risk. Marriages fail. Husbands die young. You live in the US, where social services are non-existent. How can you emotionally nurture your kids if you lose your breadwinner and don’t have some way of making more than minimum wage?

    I also think the dream of being a stay at home mum relies on the expectation that men won’t do the emotional, nurturing work. That sex role stereotype worked really badly in the past so I really think kids are better off if they do!

    My dream is a world where mums and dads both reconsider their careers, and shape their child-raising years around family life. Both parents working outside the home, and working to run the family emotionally, as a unit.

    • redrock
      redrock says:

      I also think that going to work outside or inside the house is not a question of “trend” but of economic pressures and many other factors. If a woman is not able to provide for herself financially in a pinch, then she is at the mercy of her husband who brings in the money (or vice versa). This is part of personal responsibility. And listening to the many comments about Marissa Mayer – it appears to me that the general opinion is towards women staying at home or not having kids is the only choice.

  12. L.
    L. says:

    Thank you for this post! My grandma used to tell me that all she ever wanted to be when she grew up was a mother. When I was younger, I thought that was awfully quaint, and that surely *I’D* want to have some big important career as a grown-up. Well, here I am, grown up, “lost” career-wise but dreaming of being a housewife. It seems so absurd to focus on a career at the time when it’d be easiest for me to bear and raise children. So that I can afford fertility treatments (that might not even work) in ten years? At least now I can think of myself as a trendsetter :)

  13. downfromtheledge
    downfromtheledge says:

    “I am quick to go from not liking one thing I did to not liking my whole existence. So I squeezed in some self-hatred time…”

    Priceless.

    I grew up wanting nothing but a family. I forced myself to go to college, then grad school, relationships fell apart…and somehow I stopped wanting what I couldn’t have.

    • Bill Brent
      Bill Brent says:

      [Hey, downfromtheledge — redo your URL if you can, so that The Great Google doesn’t generate a 404 (site not found). Your site’s too good to be missed. Just add a “www.” in front of “downfromtheledge.com”, and you’re good to go.

  14. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    I’m hard on myself, too. I think the perspective in this post is really quite valuable, that it’s important to see how you’re positioned next trends, beyond just feeling like an outsider to them.

    I am at home with two kids, working part-time from home, wishing I could stay home “full-time” and have more children. My friends think I’m nuts.

  15. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I guess its not fashionable to want to be a stay at home mom at age 23, but I can tell you that once you have kids, at least in my experience, the tables turn and it is not fashionable to be working mom when you could live well enough on your husband’s salary alone–then the world screams that you should be home to provide emotional support, like all of your friends are.

  16. Lori L. Lake
    Lori L. Lake says:

    I love your garden and the tree house is amazing! Your kids will thank you over and over as they get older, and you are right – your garden will be preserved!

    Thank you for synthesizing so many ideas and experiences in your terrific blogs. I’m busily reading stuff from the past since I only recently discovered you. I love your sense of humor, the way you think outside the box, and your writing style. You rock, woman!!
    ;-) Lori

  17. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Penelope, Im so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I’ve been reading it for a couple months now and its always so validating. I had kids starting at 23 and was definitely the oddball of my college group. I felt like maybe I was born in the wrong era sometimes and the chronic anxiety I felt from constantly questioning myself and my choices was absolutely exhausting. 7 years later and Im just finally starting to see that maybe I could use a little more confidence in my decisions, because they are pretty solid now that I look back on it. And PS that dancing video was fabulous, that really made my evening! And its really cementing my commitment to curriculum-free schooling for my kids!

  18. joanna
    joanna says:

    I usually think I’m highly suggestible and flexible and anything but a trend-bucker, but on these two issues I do feel a total lack of ambiguity or choice. I’ve never had the faintest desire to start a company or stay home with kids. In fact, I dread doing either of those things. But being a ladder-climber with kids in school sounds more conventional and safe than trend-bucking-ish.

  19. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    P, I think some of us (and I include myself) are our own worst critics. And we learn by doing (isn’t that one of the strengths of home-schooling?) which is what you’re doing by arranging and re-arranging the garden. And by examining other’s gardens. Which is the point of your blog. The decade of your twenties is to experiment and see what works for you, what others have done, and to take what you’ve learned and make a successful life with it. And sometimes, that success is to become a CEO of your own company. And sometimes, that success is defined as the CEO of your own household.

    Loved your post. And your garden. And your treehouse. In fact, I’m totally jealous of the tree-house!

  20. HBD
    HBD says:

    Isn’t “not bucking a trend” a new trend?
    Be careful to not fall in the conformism of nonconformism.

    You might just be following a new trend, or a new trap.

  21. Cassie Boorn
    Cassie Boorn says:

    That tree-house is amazing. You MUST take them to the city museum in St. Louis. I can’t stand children’s museums or places like that either and I was blown away by how cool this place was. It has a really interesting history too. Totally worth the drive.

  22. RIA
    RIA says:

    “I don’t want to support people financially. I want to support them emotionally.” Why is that an either-or? Most adults do both, out of necessity. Trendy or not isn’t even a consideration.

  23. Alex
    Alex says:

    We don’t look at a sunset and think, well, that is nice but maybe it should have a little more red. We don’t look at mountain peaks and think, that one has a little too much snow.

    Look at your garden with the same sort of non-judgemental acceptance. Maybe that will help!

  24. karelys
    karelys says:

    I am not taking professional pictures of my home birth.

    The trend makes me feel too pressured to look beautiful and make it so breathe taking. I just want to focus on birthing this baby right. And not worry about pictures.

    Also, I think we have memory issues because we don’t really have to remember anymore. So I’ll do my best to remember.

  25. Sadya
    Sadya says:

    Working for an IT company, then writing a Yahoo column, doing start-ups, living in NYC, being part of a reality show: aren’t all these trends? Or were they not trends when you started off doing them (with the exception of reality show)?

    • Peter Gerdes
      Peter Gerdes says:

      Umm, the point of the post is that bucking the trend and going out on your own is extremely scary, generally unpleasant and usually done only when one has no other choice.

      I presume Ms. Trunk is a person like the rest of us and has enough sense to at least occasionally take her own advice. Why would she jump on a scary, uncertain, new line of endeavor when she could follow the trail blazed by someone else.

      Despite what most of the comments seem to be assuming I take the post at it’s word. It’s not the standard ‘yay, good for you for being too different to be like everyone else’ sentiment that is the social norm for the time. It really means that when you have the option it’s usually better to join the crowd. Even if the crowd is wrong you aren’t humiliated, mocked and looked down upon as one is when one tries to blaze a new trail and totally fails.

      What would have been weird is for Ms. Trunk to write this post and never have taken it’s advice.

  26. Miss B
    Miss B says:

    Thanks for another great, thoughtful post. I do have an S in my Myers Briggs score, and starting my own company has always seemed too scary and overwhelming to me. I thought I must just be lazy and undisciplined – it never occurred to me that those feelings come from a personality/character trait that has its own strengths. I see that I don’t want to do a start-up, I want to be recruited by one for my skills and abilities. This is a huge realization for me.

    I have started my own garden (twice, because of a move), and I can tell you that it is always a work in progress. I used to beat myself up over plants that weren’t thriving where I put them, or turned out to be the wrong size, but I got over that. Now I just relocate them. It’s just rearranging the furniture and building on what I’ve learned. Your garden will grow along with you, and the hydrangeas and peonies will give you joy for years to come. I’m jealous of your boys – I had a fort once, but never a tree house, and I still ling for one.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is a great comment. You remind us all that when we are not doing a good job at something it’s probably because it’s not the right thing for us to be doing. Barring clinical depression or other mental illness, people are inherently driven to do at very good job at what feels fulfilling to them.

      The other thing I like about your comment is that you help me relax about the garden. I’m very goal oriented. A garden is not so much goal as process. It’s hard for me. I want a finished product. This is a good life skill for me to learn. If I can manage it…

      Penelope

  27. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    I appreciated this post. I made a very unpopular choice when I was 22. I got married to my college sweetheart. Then I made it worse by becoming pregnant and giving birth at 23. Then I doubled down and had two more children in the next two years. I had been a double major in German and opera theatre. I had lived in Vienna, Austria and been offered the chance to be an understudy for the role of ‘Belle’ in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in a major production company. The world was my oyster. But I just couldn’t do it. I’d seen other performers who gave up everything for their craft–even family lives and custody of their children. It was not sexy, and my family was slightly horrified, but giving all that up was the right decision for me. Twelve years later, I have a strong marriage to my husband and three beautiful, elementary school-aged kids. And I’m 34. Sometimes I daydream about what might have been–but only for two or three seconds.

  28. Bilgisayar Servisi
    Bilgisayar Servisi says:

    I grew up wanting nothing but a family. I forced myself to go to college, then grad school, relationships fell apart…and somehow I stopped wanting what I couldn’t have.

  29. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    About 10 years ago i stumbled onto a book called “The Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn (pronouced decision). I was deep in debt and looking for ways to save instead of spend and this book was very insighful for a number of reasons:

    1. Stay at home mom can be a satisfying career
    2. I found a 1000 different ways to be frugal without being depressed
    3.She was able to be an Entrepreneur that fit her time and energy and she knew when it was time to quit.
    4.Creativity without a paycheck is rewarding

    Reading this column reminded me of this book b/c Amy was bucking a trend for her baby boomer generation. She was expected to strive for a high powered career and have the home, the husband and children and somehow make it work day in and day out. She said no and she is a better person for it.

  30. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    This post was so nice including the comments. I don’t understand why we all need to feel so defensive about our choices (single, married, kids, none, etc), because it seems like EVERYONE hears criticism. I think it’s the same 10 people who run around and terrorize the rest of us. I propose the rest of us band together and take down the critics!! :)

  31. Laura
    Laura says:

    I love this post. It’s so insightful and hopeful. It makes me wish you would dedicate a section of your blog to those of us in our early to mid-40s who are living with the consequences of bucking the trends in our 20s. What happens after you earn the degrees, find the husband, have the babies, ditch the career and (mostly) raise the kids? I’ve already made the big decisions. What comes next? Is this the Botox and back-to-school for re-education portion of life?

  32. Peter Gerdes
    Peter Gerdes says:

    Did you find it amusing that you made a post about how not fitting in was miserable and people only do it when they have little choice in the matter and everyone jumped in to either signal they were emotionally supportive or to indicate just how much they didn’t fit in and how they were bucking all the trends.

    It’s like wanting to be an entrepreneur, signalling that desire to others is the way to fit in. Similarly, at the current point in US history signalling that you don’t just fit in and that you value your own unique iconoclasm is what one does to fit in.

    I’m enough of an iconoclast and oddball as it is. I want a nice stable job with the safety of not worrying over financing, funding or the other instabilities that dog the entrepreneur. I want to own dogs, live modestly with my wife and enjoy an intellectually interesting, if fairly safe, life. Dunno if that will pan out yet of course.

    P.S. Yes, I am quite aware that I am counter-signaling my appreciation of being different and iconoclastic by showing that I’m willing to broadcast my desire for a secure, modest and (career-wise) relatively unambitious life. Then again, that’s exactly what I said I wanted to do in the comment, be more, not less, normal.

  33. Jen M.
    Jen M. says:

    While I love my boyfriend very much and he is a great source of (non-monetary support,) I have always felt, as a feminist, that complete dependence on another human being is really dangerous.

    It’s as you have said, though: We all have to forge our own path in life.

    This was a lovely, poetic post to read. Good luck with your garden!

  34. LB
    LB says:

    Gee, most of us do compare ourselves to others most of the time and it is really bad to do. Some of us never feel good enough but we should feel that we are good enough most of the time. That is more healthy!

    My garden is messy messy messy, but it produces organic food and then the seeding plants give me seed for the next year. I love my garden and I hate it at the same time. I see things in magazines which are so perfect and know I can probably never have a perfect garden, but I just have to accept that. I buck the trend in my neighbourhood by growing weeds (nettles) to attract butterflies and have self sown flowers which attract bees, although I see that is now coming “on trend.” My Dad was into growing organic apples in the 1980s but no one would buy them and they didn’t understand why he would bother with organic. He was ten years ahead of the world and ended up not being successful in organics as no one else was on the same wavelength as him.

    As for the staying at home thing – I’ve done it with my children and haven’t felt bad about this. I did at first but found a book in the library called something like “$50,000 housewife.” It said that if you budget, scrimp and save you are actually “earning” a wage by being at home. I did things with my time to save money. We now have no mortgage and a house I want to live in for the rest of my life thanks to our saving like crazy (and I’m only 37)!!

    My husband enjoys earning the money and I enjoy being at home. Even though I didn’t feel bad about it, it still took me a good year to get used to it. It was hard at first not seeing many adults and I realised that I gained a lot of self esteem from my job, which suddenly disappeared once I had a baby. And that baby can’t say thanks for looking after me – so it is hard!! I know I can just walk back into my old workplace tomorrow however and get a job and can do everything myself, so I’m very capable! I still have days when I just can’t get on top of the mess in my house though or think gee my life could be more interesting – don’t we all!

    Great article and I think your garden and tree house are fab and don’t judge yourself against others! I’m sure you have many people jealous of what you have. We have to be grateful for every single tiny thing in this life – the fact we are even alive. You seem like a person who wants to do lots of different things and have them perfect and then over-analyse things. I’m similar and have to just step back and not worry and try not to apologise to others for being myself (which is messy, bright clashing clothes and odd old people hobbies like genealogy and hand crafts). I think as long as you are kind to others in life and ALWAYS “support others emotionally” whether friend or foe and try to thank the universe for everything you have, then you are fullfilling your purpose in life.

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