I bought a snake plant a few years ago, which, unsurprisingly, started to look a little sad last summer. They’re very low-maintenance, yet somehow I was still draining the life out of it. Not being a huge plant expert, but committing to learning on the go (if you can even commit to that strategy), I wanted to try and make him happier without giving up and palming him off to a neighbour or… welp, the plant graveyard AKA: the bin.
I’d tried under watering it, overwatering it, sunlight, no sunlight, so I thought I’d try and do the thing I’d been putting off the most: actually touching the soil and getting my hands dirty to repot the thing. A moment of silence, please, for my nails which I’m sure still have remnants of stubborn soil still lingering under there.
So, I uprooted him – temporarily – and decided to essentially split the plant in two, tugging hesitantly at the roots, separating him into two medium-ish pots to see if that would work. I just wanted to make the poor bugger look less droopy – and droopy is the antithesis of what this plant should be; its nickname is Mother-in-law’s tongue, for crying out loud. So, a few fresh cups of soil later, a bit of patting down and some healthy doses of water, my one plant, became two! (There’s a Spice Girls song there somewhere…)
And happily, it worked! Alice not only helped the plant survive, but helped it thrive! It didn’t take much time at all for the little snake plant babies to shoot right up and for the leaves themselves to stand to attention proudly, as they should have been doing all along. They grew so fast and filled the space of the pot so easily it was hard to think they were ever in the same pot. It was no wonder all the little individual plants and leaves were so unhappy. And then, of course, Alice had a burst of inspiration…
This is PERFECT for a blog post!
You knew it was coming. If you read my posts, you know by now I grasp for inspiration in the most tenuous of places in my life.
So, I had a thought: space. That’s all he needed to thrive. Despite everything else I was trying to give him to fix him, that’s the only thing that worked. And sometimes, it applies to us humans too.
I won’t go down the route that obviously we need to be figuratively watered, be in the sunlight and yada yada yada, because *that* would be far too millennial of me. No, I’m just going to go down the route that humans just need repotting from time to time. (Ugh, alright fine, that’s just as bad.)
But in all seriousness, sometimes we do get stuck. Sometimes we do feel like we can’t uproot without a bit of help. Sometimes we don’t know that’s the problem ’til someone outside of ourselves gives us a helping hand or the inspiration. And no amount of ‘watering’, ‘sunlight’, ‘shade’ or ‘plant food’ can shake that feeling.
Sometimes all we need is some space to get some clarity to find out what it is that we want. And if anyone has ever told you your happiness doesn’t matter, then start ditching that belief right now. Take the space you need to figure out what makes you happy, what brings you purpose, what gives your life meaning, because we only get one chance to do it all. (This got very serious very fast.)
For me, this means making the choice to uproot once again. This means packing up and selling all my stuff, saying bye to everyone I love again and leaving London once more. I’ve always felt a bit like a balloon and everyone around me a tree; I’m never quite able to firmly set my roots down, I’m always kind of floating around, easily moving to somewhere else if I choose to do so, even if that’s the other side of the world (bearing in mind that, while this notion is all very poetic and romantic, I am also in a very privileged position to be able to do this, which not everyone is).
While I adore London, that same balloon-y sensation has been tugging me in a direction outside of the capital city, where I have so many memories. Where there’s still so much potential for my future. A plethora of different paths I could go down. Where there are so many people I love and simultaneously so many new friendships blossoming. I’m not sure why, but I know I have to honour that intuitional tugging that’s nudging me, saying: Imagine how much you could bloom here too, and for now, here is Canada.
So I’m finally doing what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was 15. I’m uprooting to somewhere that has a very special place in my heart. A place full of snow globe-like childhood memories, a place bursting with the kind of striking beauty that makes me feel at home, that makes little Alice glow. I’ve been yearning to be away from the city-life for a while; a reason I’m sure is easily if not lazily assignable to the pandemic and lockdown after lockdown. A reason I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling.
And the space. I’ve been yearning for a different kind of space to find out what it is that I want next. London gave me everything I wanted for a period and more, but as you do, you grow older and you start to want different things, which is no dig on London. I’ll be back. She’ll be waiting and I’ll be embracing her with warm arms again one day I’m sure. Apples and oranges, baby.
To give yourself the gift of space – if you have that privilege – is one of the kindest gifts of all. And it can be in whatever form. Whether you carve out alone time in your day-to-day, go on a solo holiday, take a new course, pick up a hobby just for you, or yeah, uproot and move somewhere new by yourself. Space gives you the opportunity to be your authentic self, to give yourself the time to figure out what you really want, to experiment and play with the trajectory of your life – and by the way, you’re never too old to do this. While feeling stuck seems an impossible rut from which to break free, give yourself the patience and compassion to allow yourself to have space in your life, in whatever form.
And here we go – with that space, not only could you thrive just like my little (now big) snake plant, you could give yourself the potential to bloom into the strongest, most resilient version of you. Step outside of your day-to-day, be with yourself in the silence, listen. What is your intuition telling you? In which direction is it tugging you? Follow that urge and you may find the answers you’ve been searching for. Your potential won’t just be something that’s too far out of reach. You’ll embody it. And that’s pretty bloody empowering.
Humans do need repotting from time to time! I can identify with the snake plant scenario because after years of my wife and I thinking we weren’t “plant keeper types”…and we’d kill anything that came into our possession no matter how well we treated it…we have had more than one success recently and now consider ourselves “plant keeper experts.” A ficus plant, a pepper plant…and even a mini-Christmas tree all have thrived after thinking they weren’t gonna make it. And following your intuition…yes, most definitely empowering.
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Right? Congratulations! Welcome to the plant world. It does feel good doesn’t it to see those lil babies sprouting up knowing that that’s your doing. Following your intuition is empowering because it’s generally not always the easiest thing to do. The more you do it the easier it becomes, the easier life gets because you’re not doing the things you know are bad for you anymore (because they just don’t serve you in the same way).
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