I’m a gardener, and nothing makes me happier/more distressed than gazing at our yard, because no matter what kind of job I do out there, no matter how good it looks from the street, I know there’s always something that needs work. A bush I planted years ago has overgrown its spot and scrapes my legs as I walk by, a flourishing Spirea has profusely spread its seed and I could now open a Spirea-R-Us nursery, and Bittercress – Shot Weed is its apt nickname – has found a home in a shady spot, and when I try to pull them out it’s like the Fourth of July, seeds flying as far as a foot away. I can work in our jungle for hours and accomplish stuff, but while doing so, I’ll inevitably see more stuff that needs attention.
It’s a love/hate relationship, but then I’m built to have a lot on my plate. To-do lists make me happy, Before and After pictures are my porn. On dark, dull, rainy days, I can gaze out the window and make plans for the Spring, and in the Spring, I can dream of Fall plantings. If the day allows for it, there’s always something out there that I can fall into, headfirst, mindlessly disappearing into the effort of it. Fred has been known to call me in as the sun goes down, just as my mother did when I played outside until dark.
Parenting is another job that never ends. I came to parenting via the Step- method. When we fell in love, Fred predicted that his two teens, still at home, would be out of the house within four years, and they mostly were with a bounce-back or two. But out of sight does not mean out of mind, and whether by the Step- method or by birth, concern and care never leave you, and “the kids” remain “the kids” even when they’re in their fifties and sixties.
If you’re built a certain way, if you understand that daily frustration and setbacks can be managed, if you consider challenges a gift and not a curse, here’s another never-ending job for you: Small business ownership. Like gardening and parenting, you’re never done. You think you have Employee A on the right track and Employee B goes off the rails. Equipment you feel you just paid off needs replacing before you can even celebrate the accomplishment. Jobs go bad, customers leave, vendors fail you, but still you need to press on and do your best, because you can relax when it comes a garden and you’ll still have a garden, though the kind that vermin love and neighbors report to the HOA; and you can shrug when it comes to your kids and they’ll still be your kids forever, for better or for worse; but when it comes to a small business, you can’t put it on autopilot, because that business can go away without proper attention.
It may sound scary, but if you’re built for jobs that never end, it’s the best job in the world!
May 17, 2023