Lessons from a Garden Hose

Recently, I have spread myself too thin. I took on way more than I can handle this year, I started two businesses, have done a ton of self development, became a certified life coach and Wix Webmaster, became an ambassador for the Body Image Movement, read at least ten books…just listing all of this right now is making me anxious.

Have you ever been there?

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew, and then all of a sudden life metaphorically smacks you in the face to say, “Hey! Are you even here right now?”

Yeah. That’s what happened to me this last week.

I have been so incredibly focused on countless “other things” this entire year, that I haven’t even really made time for the things I enjoy…but the worst part of it is, I didn’t realize any of this until I was bitch slapped by my own reality.

I am the type of person who doesn’t just freely open up to anyone, so those close to me are lucky, sort of. The problem with being open to only a select few people, is that they receive the brunt of my, everything – my frustration, my happiness, my worry, my anxiety, all of it. And more recently it has been nothing but anxiety, worry and frustration, no fun stuff.

So unfortunately the person closest to me (my boyfriend) had the incredulous task of putting up with me through all of this. So suffice it to say that no matter how much someone loves you – if you lean on them too much, there will be a tipping point. But the key is to not get to that point, but sometimes we are so caught up that we don’t see what is happening. Nothing is worse than unintentionally affecting your loved ones in a negative way.

All of this reminded me of a lesson my Grandpa taught me as a kid when I was outside watering the garden. Instead of moving through the garden with the hose wide open, taking my time, and watering each plant – I put my thumb over the end of the hose, making the stream of water come out faster and stronger. Figuring I would water the garden in half the time.

So I stood in one spot and started misting the entire garden, never moving. After about five minutes of watering this way my thumb started to become sore and tired from covering the end of the hose. Most of the garden wasn’t really watered that well, everything just had a nice mist over it, the soil also wasn’t as wet as it should’ve been after five minutes of watering.

My Grandpa came down from the house and met me at the garden. Looking back on this now, I’m sure he had been watching me from the house, trying to water the garden this way. Because when he stood next to me he said, “You know, even though the water comes out faster that way, you’re still using less water.”

It’s kind of funny that I never really understood this until now. Basically what my Grandpa was saying, in not so many words, was that to try and save time watering the garden, you can stand in one spot of the garden and attempt to water everything equally with a fast stream of water, but in the end, you’ve used less water than the garden needs to survive – and everything is only misted, none of the water has reached the soil.

And that my friends is exactly what has happened in my life recently. I spread myself so thin with so many ideas, tasks, books, classes, appointments, frustrations, worries, commitments, etc. that I haven’t done anything for me. Or in other words, and as overused as this expression may be, I have not watered my garden properly. I haven’t focused on making sure my soil is cared for and watered. I figured that if I tried to cram in as many things as I possibly could this year – it would make me a better person and that I would be more successful, you know all those great things. And in some ways it has, but overall I have lost sight of the things I love and what really  matters to me. I don’t have fun I don’t relax, I overwork and over worry myself.

I hope that by reading this, if you are in a similar situation of taking on too much, that you don’t have to get to the point of a breakdown or a reality check to make some changes. Ambition is great, do not get me wrong, but sometimes it can get the best of you. You cannot effectively do that many things err, effectively, without sacrificing the important things in your life.

Focus first on the things that matter, then pick one or two things to work on at a time. Never sacrifice the important things.

So lesson learned from this year: Just because the water is coming out of the hose at a faster rate, doesn’t mean you are effectively watering the soil.


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