I have a potted plant that I talked about in this blog last year. Called “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” I had specifically chosen it because I was told it’s a hardy shrub. It can withstand being left alone, can put up with natural elements, and it doesn’t mind having its branches trimmed every so often.
That plant and I have been ‘together’ for a little over three years now. We’ve been through sunshiny days and, worse, through rainy days, and fortunately, we’re still together.
Taking care of a “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” has taught me a lot of lessons, too. Last year, when it nearly died because I neglected to water it for a few days, I noticed that growing plants and nurturing a career share similarities. The right elements and conditions should be present for the plant or career to flourish properly.
This year, it happened again. One morning, I saw that though the plant’s leaves were still green, they were falling from the branches! This baffled me because I’m sure I’ve learned from experience. In fact, I water the plant every day: in the morning and at night. I do the latter because, just in case I forget my duties the following day, the plant will have enough moisture to it keep it nourished.
It turned out, the soil was too moist, said a friend who’s really into gardening. If the leaves are still green, but they’re falling off, it means you over-watered the roots.
“That explains it,” I said. “What do I do now?” “Leave it alone,” she recommended. “Don’t water the soil further until it has had the chance to dry up a bit.”
This year’s take-away: don’t be overzealous. Or if I were to apply this insight in my personal and professional life: don’t run yourself ragged. Leave enough time to relax and have a bit of fun. If you keep going forward and neglecting your health, you just might find yourself like the leaves: supposedly healthy-looking on the outside, but too choked to do anything else inside.
There’s a bonus lesson from this ‘ordeal’ (yes, the fight to survive is not yet over). I noticed that while some leaves have already given up, a lot more, though wilted, remained stuck to the branches. When I tried shaking the plant to make them fall away, they wouldn’t. When I tried to pluck out the leaves on purpose because I couldn’t stand how sick they look, they stubbornly held on. This made me realize plants are like people too: tenacious and focused even when the going gets tough!
My formerly leafy friend is looking a little bare lately, but it seems to be saying, “Don’t give up easily in the face of challenges.” And don’t underestimate what something – or someone – looks like from the outside. My plant may look like it’s dying because the branches are currently a mix of brown and green. But look closely: there are three new leaves growing out of one of them.
Indeed, every end is a new beginning.