What is it that makes life worth living?
Is it money? Fame? Fun?
Why is it that some people can have nothing, yet persevere in the face of adversity? They can be hated, attacked, ridiculed, and yet they continue to live their life to the fullest. Yet others seem to struggle even when seemingly everything is going right for them.
Could it be that the people who struggle live for a non-existent thing called the future? A place built of nothing more than hopes and dreams? While those who thrive have learned to make the most out of their present?
I’ve come to believe that we all have a garden inside us, a garden of dreams. The fruits of that garden are evident in the lives we live, how close we are to living the life of our dreams.
Anyone who has planted a vegetable or flower garden knows that gardens must be tended. They must be watered, the plants must be put in nutrient-rich soil, weeds must be plucked. Have you ever seen a garden that’s planted and left untended? It gets so overgrown you can barely tell what was planted on purpose and what started growing by accident.
Yet, no matter how much care one takes, there will always be predators. Bugs, birds, varmints—even deer—there will never be a shortage of creatures that want to eat from your garden.
What do these creatures have in common? They don’t produce anything. They don’t grow their own garden. They take from what others have cultivated. They’re scavengers. They do what they do out of habit and instinct, not malice. They don’t know any better.
What I’ve noticed is the more a garden is tended, the less damage these scavengers do. Just the steady activity of a loving gardener can discourage such pests. Yet, in our own lives, how many of us tend our garden as diligently? How many of us turn off the television so that we can read a book that will increase our knowledge and understanding, that will get us closer to achieving our dreams? How many of us log off Facebook so we can spend time building whatever it is we dream of, working with our hands and hearts to create the life we want?
The modern world has a hundred million tiny distractions waiting to eat at us if we let them. Advertising that creates unnecessary want, political crises that keep our attention glued to cable news, celebrity scandals screaming from every tabloid cover at every supermarket check-out. Everything screaming for our attention seems like the most important thing in our world at the time.
What if we turned it all off? What if you stopped giving your time and attention to all those things? What if you focused, instead, on tending your garden of dreams?
Could it change your life? Could achieving your dreams put you in a position to really do something about the problems in the world that bother you? What dream of yours could change the world if you only let it grow?
Also published on Medium.