You’ll have to excuse my photos
today – 12:30am in a dimly lit living room isn’t the best
picture-capturing environment. However, my red dining room wall
always photographs nicely.
This is a pencil plant (well, my pencil
plant, actually), formally known as Euphorbia tirucalli. Perfect
for a writer, right?
may recognize this one: Sansevieria trifasciata,
commonly known as the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue if
you’re feeling snarky.
And of course these
are pretty common (please excuse it’s slightly homely appearance –
it’s had a rough winter) – Crassula argentea, or the Jade
What do all of these plants have in
common (besides brightening up my house)? They’re all succulents –
hardy plants that are able to store water to use in times of drought.
The word “succulent” has a few different meanings. From
a plant) having fleshy
I recently killed a
bunch of tropical houseplants. You can read the whole sordid story
here, but the basic gist of it is, I focused so much on one major
goal in my life (becoming a full-time writer) that I pushed
everything else in my life aside. And I realized recently that I’m
in danger of becoming a one-dimensional person, with my life
basically revolving around just one main interest.
Frankly, I don’t
think that’s healthy.
Until a couple
years ago, I lived by this adage:
The best way to know life is to love
many things. – Van Gogh
Hence the title of
this blog – The Variety Pages. It wasn’t always a writing-based
blog. I used to cover many topics here – a different one daily, but
found that readers tend to prefer niche blogs. So I broke them up
into their own little communities, and I find they do far better that
way. Still, variety in life has always been something I strive for,
something I lust after, really. I want to live a succulent
life – a “juicy” life rich in things that are healthy for me, and
nourishing to my brain.
For the past two
years, I’ve let that lifestyle slide away, to my detriment. And I
know that if I make an effort to recapture that love of variety, it
will not only make me a better person, but a better writer as well.
We’re all looking
for balance, no matter who we are or where our passions lie. I have
to say, I think balance is like perfection – neither one is
actually achievable in the utopian way we want it to be. But I do
think we can find a way to achieve our goals without sacrificing
everything else in our lives, if we’re willing to work at it, and
perhaps be a little more patient than we’d like. Having an interest
in something doesn’t mean we have to spend oodles of time on it. I
think taking little snippets out of our day or week to enjoy just a
small piece of those things that we love can make a huge difference
in how we see and interact with the world.
This summer, I’m
embarking on a personal mission, Code Name: Succulent. The
mission is to rediscover the things I love outside of writing, and
sculpt my life in such a way that I can enjoy those things in smaller
bites while still moving at a decent clip toward my main career
goals. The point is not to balance everything – I don’t believe
that’s possible or even necessary. It’s more a matter of being
content in each moment and savoring little slices of life wherever I
I invite you to
join me on this journey of re-discovery every Thursday. I don’t
claim to have the answers, but perhaps you might find some of it
interesting. At the very least, you’ll know a lot about houseplants
when the series is done (and who knows what else?).
Next week, I’m
starting at square one by making a list of those interests I want to
make time for on a regular basis. I’ll share my entire list, and
then show you how I’ve chosen which ones to put at the top. Wanna
join me? Make your own list of everything you can think of that
you’re interested in (must be something other than your main interest…because this project is all about diversifying).
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