I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. I find my mind frequently wandering to where I’ve been in my life, especially where I’m going. It could have been spurred on by my son starting high school, becoming more independent, and needing me less (except as an ever-diligent chauffeur and sideline cheering section). Or, it could have started because my 44th birthday is coming up soon or even because I’ve found my interests and passions in life have changed. Call it a mid-life crisis or a change of purpose, but whatever it is, it has been occupying many of my thoughts.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the paths we take in life and how they shape who we become. When I chose to be a wife, a mother, a vegan, an enthusiastic gardener, an author, etc., these were all paths that I took that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Some paths have been more challenging than others, but I wouldn’t change the experiences I gained by walking them all. Now, at this point in my life, I feel that I have reached a crossroads.
In 2013, I started my own publishing company and have written, illustrated, and published four children’s books. I love writing and creating art, and being an author allowed me to combine these two loves. When I write about gardening, it’s all the better, which is why I created this blog both as a connection to others with similar interests and as a means to combine my other hobbies: gardening and photography.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about whether I want to explore other career options. The question has become do I stay the course and continue on my current career path that is comfortable and familiar, or do I take a detour and travel on an unknown road? The unknown could be rocky and end up being a dead-end, or it could be a fantastic journey. The question is, am I brave enough to take those first steps?
Self-confidence has never been my strong suit; self-doubt is a more frequent companion. And with that self-doubt often comes timidness, a fear of taking a leap and making a change—the constant “what-if’s” preventing action. But, if I’m honest with myself, truly honest, I realize that perhaps my interests have changed and that maybe it’s okay if I change too.
One question keeps circling in my head: At (almost) 44, shouldn’t I know what I want to be when I grow up? When I was a kid, I thought each person was allowed to pick one occupation that they would do for the rest of their lives. It was the end-all decision, no backsies and no changing your mind. So when it turned out that I was unhappy at my first chosen profession, I felt like a failure. I was ashamed. It took all of my strength to write that resignation letter. Change is difficult and scary for me.
But, when I ask myself what I love to do, what I’m passionate about, the answer is clear: being in my garden and sharing that love with others. Who knows? Perhaps my future is in flowers. To find out, I plan to keep learning and exploring in the garden. I have decided to take as many classes as possible to determine whether I want gardening to be more than a hobby. Then, all I can do is continue to search for those answers while I play in the dirt.
I don’t know what the future holds or if I’ll be brave enough to take that first step onto the unknown path. But, I do know that it’s so important to do what you love. As Lynsey, Muddy Acres Flower Farm owner, says, “You should do what makes you happy. Not what you are “supposed” to do. Listen to that little voice. It’s there for a reason. It’s trying to tell you something. You CAN do it. It IS possible.”
And so, I’m going to start small. I just finished planting 300 tulip bulbs in the garden. The plan is to grow them as cut flowers and perhaps sell a few bouquets in the spring. If I enjoy the process, I’ll keep going; if not, I will know that I prefer to grow flowers as a hobby. Either way, I’ll have more flowers in my life, and I can’t think of a downside to that. Flower farmer Antonio Valente once said, “Life is short so grow the flowers. ALL the flowers.” And I, for one, intend to take Antonio’s advice. So, wish me luck as I take that first step onto this new path.