Growing little things.

I have always been pampered by the ease of having food ready to be eaten. Ready-to-eat is the norm. It also means that our ability to stay connected with what fuels us becomes more and more limited. Because getting to the end stage can be so easy and fast today, the long hauls in life can feel unbearable.

rainbow chard seedlings emarging after 22 days of sowing

In comparison to a trip to the produce section, it takes a tremendous amount of time to grow vegetables from seed to the size presentable as part of a meal. Reading the “days to sow: 8–21” printed on the back of a seed packet makes me feel unsettled. The cloudy days makes germination even harder. Some of my rainbow chard took 22 days to emerge from the soil, right before I was ready to discard the batch.

It takes 60–70 days for these newly emerged seedlings to mature in average. They are really putting my patience to a good test.

I have read tons of stories about perseverance and how entrepreneurs live through the first five years of their businesses before all the right things can possibly happen. More over, I am an entrepreneur myself — of course I know patience(yea right…)!

The fact that I check on my newly sowed little plants every other hour proves me wrong: I am not patient at all.

Soon I realized no matter how much I hope they arrive on my plate sooner, the only things they are striving for are water and sun — the essentials. These plants care nothing about my feelings.

Eventually, they will end up on my plate. Eventually.

I also learned to keep the growth of certain edibles “on track” by trimming and thinning them. The act can be quite rewarding itself. “Distracted” pea tendrils can be harvested not only as a quick snack but can also promote a more elongated growth for better exposure to light.

If you see distractions as your enemies… eat your enemies.

I do enjoy eating the “distractions” of my pea plants a lot. The plants have less chance of pulling each other down while I get a little salad to munch on.

Somehow this inspired me to reframe my own struggles with personal growth and managing expectations.

When I was in architecture school, I lived by deadlines. Every 2 weeks, I pull an all-nighter because I was insecure about my work. I kept on iterating my work until the morning of the critique, ended up having either crappy sketches to show or far too many “good ideas” to be developed. I also took opinion from everyone at my critique too seriously that I was never able to focus on resolving one problem very well. I worked way too hard on things that other people think I should be working on. I wanted to have answers to everyone’s opinion, at the expense of satisfying nobody, not even myself. I let the non-essentials govern my life and my decisions. I was living by other people’s expectations. I still do.

I grab on to those expectations as if they are my main support. They distract me, and makes me feel horrible as a person sometimes. I start to develop many “hobbies” to appear somewhat “interesting” to others just so I can fit in. Inevitably those expectations pull me down while I try to reach upwards.

Once in a while I need to give myself a little trim to make my journey a lot lighter. Although I am not entirely sure of what my end goals are, I am certain that a lighter journey can help me focus on finding those goals.