The following is a except from post I wrote a couple of years ago. I post it here to share how far I’ve come since March 17, 2017 and how much more work I have to do.
“Like most people, I have a list of things to do, goals, a bucket list. It seems to grow every day. Being busy means we are valuable, right? Last week my list included but was not limited to, the following: (1) Plant the vegetable garden, double the size of last year; (2) Create an island oasis on my back porch, including multiple hammocks, vintage signs, a fire pit, and a tiki hut bar; (3) Become a certified yogi, and teach flexibility and mindfulness to senior citizens, or maybe toddlers, or OMG both at the same time; (4) Build a chicken coop and raise chickens; (5) Beekeeping; (6) Foster children; (7) Make my own soap.
We had chickens when I was a kid, and I learned gardening from my Grandpa, but never did any beekeeping. I researched it, and joined a beekeepers Facebook page. I learned that there is more to being a beekeeper than simply getting a hive and letting the winged creatures procreate and pollinate. Pre-made bee hives are expensive, I decided to make my own hive. A little plywood, some nails, how hard could it be? Where would the hive be? Maybe over there by the morning glories. I need to trim those back.
While I am planning, there’s the garden. I need to put up the electric fence to keep the cows out of the garden and clear of the wildflower patch, but not obstruct them from my view because I think it would be cool to catalog the birth of the calves this year in a series of sepia photographs… which would make a nice coffee table book. But also a series in color because there will be the glorious wildflowers from all the seeds I put out last year.
The chicken coop should go back behind the garden to keep the poop for fertilizer nearby. Must set up a compost bin. Can I utilize the existing shed for the coop? Measure off the chicken yard. How many square feet per chicken? Should probably Google that. Need nesting boxes. I’ll make those at the same time I’m making my bee hive. I need more hyacinths by the fence. Oh, yeah, someone tagged me on a picture of a wooden fence that was painted to look like an ocean scene. How great would that look alongside my beachy-tiki hut themed patio?
Are you tired yet? I am. It’s exhausting being me. I’m sure it is exhausting loving me. I want to do every good thing.
You know the problem with doing or wanting to do everything? Very little actually gets done. My life is replete with unfinished projects. It took me a full year to put wood tile down in my house, and I started that project more than a year after pulling up the carpet, taking a year to decide between staining the concrete or laying tile. I painted my kitchen cabinets two years ago with the goal of also putting an oil rub on them. It doesn’t look too bad that only the one is oil rubbed. About the same time, I demo’d the dropped ceiling, installed new lighting and now only need to finish painting there. You don’t notice unless you look up. The home in my imagination is a show place, the home in my reality is a true fixer upper.
There is nothing wrong with the items on my list. I’m huge on vegetables and like to eat as clean as is reasonably possible in this era of GMO food. Who doesn’t love fresh organic eggs? And so help us all, the shortage of honey bees is quite possibly the harbinger of the apocalypse. The bees must be saved. My skin loves goat milk soap… or the hippie in me likes to think so. So, my epiphany came out of nowhere, as epiphanies have a habit of doing.
Gardens are good. They provide wholesome vegetables, and blooms with nectar to feed bees and hummingbirds who, in turn, pollinate the plants. But last year, I would come home from work and see my garden and the weeds and it was 100 degrees out there and well… Days later I am digging through foot high weeds for those delicious tomatoes. I love the way it looks. I love the things that grow there. I love the idea of growing my own organic pesticide free food. But, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t really enjoy the process of weeding and tending to the garden. So, why have a garden? Because, it seems like I should.
Chickens are good. But I cannot eat my own pets, so all I would get from this endeavor is organic eggs. Is it honestly worth the effort of building a coop, buying chickens and feed, and worrying about predators…so I don’t have to buy $3 eggs? I have a source for an endless supply of good organic eggs. The $3 I pay for a dozen of those eggs helps support the rescue organization that keeps the chickens. So, why do I want to keep chickens? Because, it seems like I should.
Bees are good. Having bee hives is good. All the free organic honey I can eat!! Hurray!! But, I can’t remember the last time I ate honey. Is it because I don’t have a hive? No, I can go to any local market and get honey. Also, I remember throwing out a jar that had sat in my cupboard so long it hardened. I just don’t eat a lot of sweets. But, the bees are endangered, and they need our help and they pollinate the wildflowers and … and OMG save the bees! Plus, Lady Beekeeper is a pretty cool hippie handle. So, I supposed what interests me about the bees is simply the idea of being a lady beekeeper, like a modern day Itchy Threadgoode, in menswear and a floppy hat. A pioneer. I don’t eat honey a lot of honey, so why… Because (altogether now), it seems like I should.
Being a yogi, fostering children, or keeping a garden, chickens, goats and bees are all fine and true endeavors for someone who really, in her soul of souls wants to do those things. A successful gardener IS a gardener, he doesn’t just DO gardening. A good beekeeper IS a beekeeper, she doesn’t just DO beekeeping. A yogi IS a yogi…you get the picture.
The thing is, I’m not the only person in this world. Just because something is good, and needs done, doesn’t mean it is my job to do it. I can admire and support the awesome lives and activities of others, I don’t have to emulate them. Busying myself with things that aren’t my job or my passion, just because I think I should, takes time away from (and gives me an excuse not to do the real work associated with) my true purpose in life. Instead of being a scatterbrained yogi, I can try to remember where I left my mat and let the intended yogi lead me into my practice, where I am fed and receive the inspiration to do that which I was intended to do. There is nothing wrong with NOT being the leader. With the time I gain by not trying to accomplish every cool thing, I can concentrate my efforts and talents on the short list of cool things intended solely for me. I can do them well, in a way no other person has done them and, most important, I will enjoy doing them. Pleasure from my purpose is a gift from my Creator, and that gift is meant to be paid forward to the world.
How do I reconcile not doing or being that which I appreciate? Support, not hinder. I can support local gardeners by purchasing the fruits of their labors; eating healthy food even if I didn’t grow it. I can support my egg source by purchasing her eggs and returning the cartons for refilling so as not to add litter to the already taxed environment. I can avoid the use of insecticides and chemicals that contaminate our waters and soil and kill the honey bees. I can plant wild flowers that do not require more of my time but what it takes to scatter seeds. I can buy honey from local sources on the rare occasion I need a pot. Anytime I want goat milk soap, my friend is happy bring me as many $6 bars as I want.
I will stay in my own lane, stop going after the popup out in left field when I’m clearly the short stop; let others do their things, so that I can do my thing, my true thing. I will breathe in and out and enjoy this life.
Now, I have to call the social worker and explain that I didn’t think through caring for three little boys, but I would be happy to make a donation to the foster care system. Lord, I hope they aren’t already on their way. “
Since that post was made in March 2017, I have made great strides in staying in my own lane. Although, I do currently have chickens and a garden. The garden has weeds up to my hips in places but the vegetables are delicious. Oklahoma Garden magazine is not coming out to take pictures for their next issue, so no worries there. I grow it solely for the consumption of the household. I love my chickens, they all have great personalities and are fun to raise. It is a good thing because I spent $62 at the feed store today and store bought eggs are about $2 a dozen. The math does not work. I do not keep bees, I plant wildflowers. I do not keep goats, I buy $6 bars of goat milk soap. I do not foster children, but donate to organizations that support those who do. There are many more things I’ve stopped doing that were taking up tremendous amounts of my time as an excuse not to do the work I feel I was born to do. There are many more activities I must discontinue to free up time to educate myself and practice my craft. Writing is my lane. I’m going to stay over here now and keep writing.