It’s widely known that having a green thumb keeps you busy in a healthy hobby way. But how exactly does this work? Why spend time watering a plant and taking it out for some sunshine when you can have real pets instead?
That’s the thing. A five-inch succulent isn’t a pet.
You probably step on plants every day in one way or another, but taking care of them is a delicate task. (Just ask the nearest gardener: “Keep off the grass!”) For example: succulents, though they have tough water-resistant leaves, must be handled with mindfulness. Refrain from touching the leaves excessively, or the whole surface will have permanent fingerprints all over them. You’d think you could leave them on their own, but you have to give succulents just the right amount of water and sunshine, depending on both weather and climate. In the unpredictable heat-rain-heat-rain of Metro Manila, it’s best to keep succulents under a roof but near some not-fatal sunshine (at least six hours of a day).
With the hectic schedule of a graduating student, I would come home to my condo and find solace in watering my succulent and placing it in the corner of my window seat: enough sun for half the day, with shade provided by a convenient bucket for the other half of the day. It made my downtime productive and soothing: instead of scrolling through Instagram after a long and tiring day, I could put my efforts into taking care of something that was alive but didn’t need an exhausting amount of attention. Here, I could space out and think about anything while still being engaged in my small gardening duties.
Sometimes, coming home to a pretty assortment of plants and flowers (even just one succulent and one flower arrangement) is all you need to step back and breathe a bit, all with the reassurance of “hey, I managed to keep this tiny garden alive.”
Taking care of a plant can be reflective of your inner growth as a person: watering something and keeping it alive despite all the ridiculous things that happen in life offers a concrete representation of your own growth. There’s also that strange feeling of comfort since plants provide an impression of the presence of nature that allows you to be just as you are: a bit tired but in search of peace nonetheless.