Because sometimes you do what you want to grow
Tomato plants can teach us a lot about priorities.
You see, I have these tomato plants my friend gifted to me as seedlings. They were sprouting three to a cup. They grew pretty tall too in the largely climate controlled space of my home’s window sill.
Then I potted them outside. They had more nutrient dense soil, more time in the sun, more room to grow and yet the next day when I went to go check on them they were dying.
If you know much about growing tomatoes from seeds, then you’d know the sun was a little too hot and a little too bright so it was scalding my tomato babies. After moving them to the backyard, where there’s slightly less sun and giving them time to rest and adjust (another lesson from the tomatoes), I began the task of trying to help them grow.
I pinched off the sun scalded leaves. I pinched off any branches that were too small. I even got rid of the more injured seedlings keeping one tomato baby per pot. Now my tomato plants are thriving. Why? Because I helped the tomato plants make growing strong and healthy a priority; which is where the lesson lies.
We all want to be strong and healthy tomato plants. We want to thrive, upheld by the root system of our respective (and collective) values, but we can’t do that if we are taking on too much. Deciding what actually is too much, per my little tomato babies, is becoming honest with yourself about what is sunscalding you and where you might need to trim some tertiary leaves to be better resourced.
Changing”have to” to “want to”
Sometimes our priorities are just too much because they are all at the same level of importance. Sometimes all our priorities, according to my creativity coach Mel are “have to’s” when some of them could be “want tos”. For the purpose of explaining this to me, Mel said there are only 4–5 things we have to do. Which is really to say there are only 4–5 things we have to do as human beings to stay alive: eat, drink water, sleep, defecate and move. Everything else becomes a “want to”.