Plant Test

I’ve been wrongfully accused of having too many houseplants before. At times, my living room has looked like a proper jungle–a spectacle on video calls. I fully leaned into the strangeness of it all, setting out to ensure there was no visible shelf space. Well, I had to throw away two plants this morning, two once highly beloved swiss cheese” trailing plants. I had zero emotional attachment to them at that moment; good riddance even. I became more aware of how profound this might be with each passing minute.

As I looked around, I could see more shelf space than ever. Space where plants once lived and added so much to the coziness of the house. Each being placed in that exact spot for very calculated, customized sun exposure reasons. As soon as you walked in, you could feel that it was a space that was loved and cared for, and a lot of thought had gone into it. It’s nothing like that anymore, and I’m trying to figure out what that means and how I feel about it.

There was a time not long ago when I would essentially never consider throwing a plant away. They are expensive, but more than that, it usually takes a lot for me to lose hope in them. Ultimately, these challenges around high-maintenance care and revival make this an appealing hobby, so it was sort of thrilling to figure out how to resuscitate one. It’s time-intensive and a great way to explore curiosity. Save a beloved plant that looked beyond death? Dopamine! Find a fairly rare type at a decent price? Dopamine! Try a new propagation method that worked? Dopamine! Get a notoriously finicky plant to thrive? Big time dopamine! The more challenging, the better.

This dopamine is just not there at the moment and hasn’t been since I’ve had a few new significant stressors pop up. Plant care has become a burden. I don’t have the resources in the form of time or attention or care to maintain this hobby. Even more than that, though, I’ve realized I have become a bit resentful of them. While it was oddly charming how unforgiving they were at one point, it is now annoying. They sit amongst me all day, and it’s too easy to view them as a constant reminder of how I’m currently failing, how I’m avoiding an obligation. How I used to be able to do this thing others thought was incredible magic, and now I can’t.

It’s unfortunate how hard it is to understand how truly good something is in the moment. Getting this insight only in retrospect is such an enormous shame since you are robbed of the full positive effect. It can only bring a bit of comfort later when things are comparatively worse. But maybe the problem is one around flexibility and adapting and perspective. Maybe the spirit of this happiness and fulfillment isn’t gone; it’s just moved to something else. And maybe that doesn’t have to be sad at all. There was a thing that was cherished, and it served its purpose, and now it’s gone.

Maybe all there is to do is hope this will transfer somewhere else, and if not, what changes could be implemented to foster it since it’s proven to be such a core personality trait and emotional need. As long as I am getting fully absorbed by something and excited about its challenges, things are OK. It was plants, but it can be something else too. It was never about the plants themselves.

As an aside, I feel compelled to say that at day seven of these posts, I am personally finding them very helpful and important. Things that cause pain are more likely to be at the forefront of my mind. So when it comes to writing where my head is at” there’s a potential theme developing here. But these posts force me to dedicate time to process these thoughts in a healthy way, and where I end up mentally at the end of a post is a much better space. A much more useful way of framing something distressing or sad. Many passing bad thoughts can add up, but reframing them lightens the load. Anyway, I appreciate you coming along for the weird journey.

See you tomorrow over breakfast.

February 7, 2024

A tiny project byJoni Trythall inspired by friends at Wiggle Work.