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It's Okay Not to Garden - What I Learned this Summer

It seems like August just started yesterday, but that is not so. Tomorrow is September, and that means fall is on the way! There’s lots to look forward to, but I wanted to pause and remember what I learned this summer.

Sometimes, the audiobook makes the reading experience better.

I think I knew this before in the back of my mind, but the point became obvious to me when I listened to Lab Girl by Hope Jahren this summer. I would have liked reading this book, but I loved listening to the audio. Jahren reads this herself, and hearing her tell this amazing story first hand really added to the experience for me. Lab Girl is one of my favorite books so far in 2017, and a lot of that has to do with how spectacular the audiobook was.

Your iPhone battery can explode.

Not like BOOM explode, but like expand and ooze stuff explode. I thought my screen was out of place because I dropped my phone (I refuse to make two trips, meaning I drop lots of stuff). Nope. The battery was expanding, and the phone needed to be replaced. Luckily I was due for an upgrade. On that note…

You can email voicemail messages from your phone to save as audio files.

Last time I had to upgrade my phone, I lost the voicemail messages saved on my phone. This isn’t a huge deal, but my maternal grandma had left me the sweetest voicemail after I got engaged. I saved that voicemail for years, but it was gone when I upgraded.

On newer phones, you can open the voicemail, hit the arrow in a box icon (can you tell I’m not techy??), and email the voicemail. Now I have the audio file of my grandma singing me happy birthday and my best friend leaving me a funny message out of breath from a marathon training run saved on my hard drive. I don’t want to lose these memories.

I sleep better when I limit myself to two cups of coffee a day.

This is obvious, but it just hit me recently that maybe the reason I’m a bad sleeper is because I drink six plus mugs of caffeinated coffee a day. I don’t need that much stimulation, and I should probably make the switch to decaf. But first I’m going to try to drink more water and less coffee. I’ll have to learn to savor each sip, instead of guzzling the contents of my mug as if my life depends on it.

Speaking of coffee…

If you spill coffee on yourself and have to wash out the stain in the office bathroom sink, your clothing will dry much faster if you sit in front of a space heater then it will if you stick it under the automatic hand dryer in the bathroom. May you be less clumsy than I.

It’s okay not to garden.

My grandma is a very talented gardener. Her flowers are beautiful and perfect every summer, and in an effort to do everything my grandma does because she’s one of my favorite people, I’ve spent the past few summers trying to muster some excitement over tending to my little flower garden. But I’m not excited about tending to flowers. I get no joy from digging up weeds or remembering to water. I wish I did, but I don’t.

I love to tend to succulents, house plants, herbs, and veggies. But I’m useless with plants that flower. I expressed the concern over my failed garden to my grandma recently, and she said, “Do what makes you happy. Just plant vegetables next year.” I was worried my grandma would think less of me if I didn’t have a garden full of flowers, but she doesn’t care at all. A secret of adulthood is:

What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.
— Gretchen Rubin

I don’t need to love gardening, just like my grandma doesn’t need to love re-reading favorite books or blogging. Of course! But I needed her to say this to me face-to-face before I could fully understand. At the end of my season I’m discarding the many dead flowering plants in my garden. Next year I’ll plant veggies, and we’ll share what we grow with my grandma.

I hope you had a wonderful summer, and that there’s lots of fun on your calendar this fall.

Questions: What did you discover over the summer months? Did you plant a garden of flowers or veggies? Do you have a voicemail from a loved one that you just can’t delete?

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