Deep breath. Whatever weight there is, I find myself having to remember it is only that which I put on myself.
Lately, I have been struggling, feeling drawn between two worlds: one, in which I still desire success as I once understood and saw it, and another, where I am trying desperately to relinquish those desires, and to simply live (live simply) with intention, presence, focus, and love.
Like bringing a farm into a city, I continue to believe that there is some way to bring these disparate worlds together, but I am continuing to find that this takes time, focus, energy and patience. Admittedly, it can be hard to remain patient when so many things around feel imminent. I am 26 – shouldn’t I be settled in by now? Shouldn’t I have done something with my life, or at least know where I’m going? Shouldn’t I be letting go of my idealism, and accepting that life isn’t always an adventure?
One moment, I feel the desire to throw up my hands and accept something “safe”: a job, a clear career path, working towards having a home and a family. The next, I want to sell all my things, pay off my student loans, and see what really happens if I completely let go of the material things in life. The edges are always where things happen, right? Or as Doug Tompkins, founder of North Face says, “When everything goes wrong – that’s when the adventure starts.”
I’m certainly not suffering where I stand now – but it’s important to be honest with myself that walking the middle path, or at least seeking it, is not always easy. I am finding that true humility – not desiring things simply to satisfy my own need for recognition and accomplishment – isn’t a peak conquered in a final push, but a long and slow journey up the mountainside, where it can be all to easy to get stuck looking at one’s feet.
In the midst of all of this, today, I put seeds in the ground for the first time in my life. To me, this is absolutely crazy. It’s taken me 26 years to take part in one of the most basic acts of being EVER. Sure – I’ve been there to help with weeding and building; I’ve been there to lend design advice and to lead educational programs – but before today, I’d never been there for that first step. Today, I put seeds in the ground. And it felt amazing.
This to me, is the beauty of the urban farm, of the home garden, of the reclaimed curb – of bringing nature back into the places where we’ve pushed it out. No matter what metaphysical hiccups are happening within us or actual crises are occurring around us, putting seeds in the ground will always be a productive act. Today, I feel like I did something – something important, something beautiful, something I needed, and something I think a lot of us could use more of. Today, I put seeds in the ground.
I found an old notebook of mine from last year, with this sentence written in it: “I find it odd the number of times it takes for a remembrance to be remembered.” A year later, I am coming back to the same things – and each day, I have to keep reminding myself of what I already know. I am 26 years old, but I could plug any number in there, and I believe the sentiment would be the same: this life isn’t some peak to be conquered. It’s the day to day, long and slow journey: the search to everyday wake up and say to oneself: “here is exactly where I want to be.”
Soon, I will go to sleep. Tomorrow, I will wake up, and help to build an urban farm. Tomorrow, I am going to sow more seeds. Tomorrow, I am going to be where I want to be.
P.S. Remember to keep learning.