Some people launch into a crazy new diet each spring, knowing full well that fad diets are full of empty promises and that the weight loss, though dramatic, doesn’t last through summer. We know these things, but the beach calls, and we think maybe this time things will be different. It’s what we do.
As for myself, I start a garden. I load up my car with beautiful flowers, plant them in my yard, and stand back to admire the instant beauty. I make a lot of promises. I promise to water them. I promise to mulch. I promise a lot of things.
But, like fad diet weight loss, my garden doesn’t make it past summer. Once the temperature hits the upper 90s every day, air conditioning becomes my favorite thing and I dictate my wishes for the world from the comfort of a climate-controlled environment. Over the past few years, I have gotten better about this. I’ve begrudgingly watered and fertilized them, and they lasted a bit longer and a bit longer, until now I have the very basics of what some might call a landscape.
Well, this year things will be different. This year, while shopping for plants, I pulled out the little plastic tag that tells you about the plant and noticed something I hadn’t paid much attention to before. It was a list of what the plant needed to thrive.
Now, I know you’re looking at this right now and thinking, “does she really not know to read the instructions for a plant before planting it? Come on, girl, that is ridiculous.” That’s cool. There are things I know and things I don’t know, and I we are all still learning so hush and listen to my story.
And for the record, yes, I do know to read the instructions. I just thought that I knew better. Kind of like when medical science tells us all to eat lots of healthy food, and we drink margaritas and eat chips and guacamole instead. It’s the exact same as that.
Anyway, I was shopping for plants, and I pulled out the tag and looked at it, and suddenly it all made sense because of one little word: thrive. In the past, the plant instructions had been just that: instructions. And as a rebel, I ignored them and did things my own way. Some of the really tough plants survived, but most withered away because I didn’t follow the instructions.
The word, “thrive,” changed my perspective, though. I had gotten my plants to a point where they were surviving, but I wanted my plants to not just survive, but thrive. I bid farewell to my hydrangea dreams and embraced hostas and drought-tolerant grasses. And as I did, the metaphors started pouring in.
We all have a list of what we need to thrive, and it can be as varied from person to person as from plant to plant. I know someone who needs daily naps to do her best work. Sure, she can survive on less sleep, but to thrive, she needs that extra rest.
Plenty of folks survive just fine on take-out meals and soda. They’re getting by, and that might be okay for now. But to thrive, they need something different.
For some, a diet high in complex carbohydrates is what has them feeling their best. They enjoy rice and pasta and homemade bread and feel great. But others would feel sick, bloated, and lethargic in those conditions, and they need a different diet to thrive.
How do you know what you need to thrive? Pay attention to how you feel in different circumstances! When you have a high-energy day, look around and discover what could have led to it. What did you eat? When did you eat? How much sleep did you get? Did you exercise? Who are you spending your time with? Have you been in nature, or glued to your office?
On the days when you can’t get any steam, pay attention to that, too. What’s been going on recently that is enough of a trend to mean something?
Collect all of this information about yourself and start creating your own list of what you need to thrive. Then, honor it. Sure, you can survive in less than ideal circumstances, just like my poor pitiful plants. You deserve better than that. Discover what you need to thrive, and give it to yourself. You are going to love what blooms.