Shit No One Reads
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Shit No One Reads

Your Most Valuable, Profitable, and Important Asset

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

It’s a Monday evening. I get back from work at 6.30 from a tiring day, but I’m still up to something. I put down all my stuff as soon as I get home and head to the yard surrounding the house to check on my plants.

My semi-detached house in Penang, Malaysia, is quite ordinary in architecture and outward appearance. But slightly rare is my garden. Abutting the house on two sides is about 600 square feet of living grass. And on our grass lives many trees we planted ourselves over the years: two full-grown mango trees, half a dozen of banana trees, a coconut tree, and a curry tree, among others.

But the plants that need attention this Monday evening are the basil and turmeric.

I replant the six-odd turmeric plants in a bigger pot with aerated, healthy soil, and I put one in the ground at a sunny spot. Then, I dig a fresh patch in the ground for the basil because their pot soil looks unhappy. I also fertilize and water everything and check on the mint, the newest addition to the garden. Before I know it, it’s dark. I had completely lost track of time, and I was tired. Digging holes is hard work. But I look around and there’s empty pots, dug-up grass, and dirt all over the lawn. It’s cleanup time.

After cleaning up in the dark, I went in to make a simple dinner. A quick shower later and it’s 9.45. I saw the time as I reclined in my room, clean, full, and exhausted. I was quite aghast at the fact that I had just spent so long in the garden. So aghast that, no matter what I did to distract myself, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

What if I just really like plants?

There’s something about plants that make me tick. I don’t know how else to tell it to you: plants make me happy.

Even some of my dreams are rooted (I had to, I’m sorry) in plants. I’ve always wanted to start a gourmet fruit farm. I’ve always wanted to create easy solutions to integrate plants into urban environments, like with a hanging garden kit designed to attach to a desk, for example. Or a wall-mounted moss forest with resident earthworms and shrews.

This experience has proven that I don’t mind, and in fact enjoy, spending lots of time with plants. I also noticed I was in a better mood. The positive influence was undeniable.

I think everyone should have something that has this effect on them. That something isn’t a purpose because you don’t have to be or do anything to have it. That something isn’t a passion, either, because it doesn’t fulfill you or give you a good time. That something should be something that makes you calm and peaceful. It should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Consider me and plants: plants are not my purpose, they’re just part of it. My aim is to spread creativity to create freedom, a mission that isn’t all green and leafy. Plants aren’t my passion, either, because I honestly don’t enjoy or hate spending time on them. I’m just neutral about it, which is pleasant for me because I’ve always got something filling my head. It’s different from the things that give me a real adrenaline shot, like 3D printing and robots and writing. To me, plants just add peace.

Everyone needs something like that. Everyone needs a peace source. First, of course, you need to know what that something is for you. To do that, think about what you do that feels natural. What makes you smile just thinking about it? What calms you down? What can you do for hours and hours? I realized that plants are my peace source. They calm me down and make me happy.

For you, it might be making coffee. It could be playing PUBG. It could be designing retro computer mice. It could be listening to high-quality music. It could be ice skating with your partner. Take some time to find your plant-equivalent. If you calm down enough, it usually doesn’t take long to stumble across something.

Take your peace source with you, always.

Your source of peace is your most important asset. It will grant you generous returns if you pay attention to it. It can make or break you in tough times.

But don’t wait for things to go wrong to go to your plants/ coffee/ music. Invest some time in it often because it will keep you sane. If you’re lost and worried now because you have no idea what brings you peace, you should instead be excited. Because the first time you discover it is a priceless experience.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

— Chinese proverb

Edit: My sister read this piece the first time and was rightfully indignant that I failed to recognize her contribution in the gardening escapade. Let it be known therefore that my sister was, in fact, partly responsible for this revelation. Her shoveling of soil off the grass, sprinkling of fertilizer, and careful uprooting of the plants for replanting was noble indeed.

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