Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Littlest Obsessions

This is a bit wordy, and at first seems a little off topic, but I promise you it has some gardeny goodness.

I read on Fern@LOTB's blog that the average age of container gardeners is 55, thus being mildly discordant with the ages of both blog writers and blog readers. She and I and others out there are avid pot/container gardeners that fit well outside this age definition. At 28, I'm a long way off 55, and I have a veritable jungle of pot plants on my balcony. I love living beyond the fringes of normality.

I recall occasions in my early teens, nattering away with my girlfriends about our hopes and dreams for the future. We (almost) all had subconsciously bought into the societal norms that would make my current academic female companions quake in their Campers and Birkenstocks. We wished for loving and attractive husbands (at that stage half resembled Luke Perry, the other half Jason Priestly) good jobs, largish houses with a pool and a garden (complete with cleaning lady), 2 children (or 3 as long as two were twins, Sweet Valley High books were still in vogue) and pets. And there was a definite timeframe, by age 28 this mosaic of suburban bliss was to be ours. Oh and we would all still be the best of friends ...

Well I am 28, and I can safely say I have none of the above, I rent, not own, I have had relationships, so which teetered towards matrimony but luckily fell well short and nowadays have male friends but no one with whom I have a mutual 'withstanding', my job is certainly not stable, nor is it well paid, water restrictions stop the pool and curtail the gardening ambitions. Yet I am, despite the dire predictions if these clauses were not met, deliriously happy. I'll perhaps get the family thing going one day, but for now my thesis, my balcony garden and my friends take up my time. I don't harbour a hate or any ill-will for those in families, I wish them all the best. Indeed I have friends who have hit the nesting stage, borne children, and enjoy the cozy family life. Moreover I am just enthralled in the idea of plans, failure to attain said plans and how happily wayward life can get from naive dreams.

Now before you wonder why I am on a diatribe about little girls and modern suburban expectations and curse as to where all the usual pretty flower/tomato pictures are, bear with me. I was out last night with my parents, visiting some old family friends. The family friends' children are a little older than I, and have all started gorgeous families and long-term careers. My poor, suffering mother who desperately, though largely secretly (bless her), desires grandchildren one day, but is happy to wait until the doctorate is done, and then some, sates her wishes by living vicariously. She asked the family friend if she had any photos of her grandchildren, and the two, actually three because my Dad joined in, happily poured over albums full of adorable grandchildren. It is great to see my folks happy, but it compelled me to pull out a happy snap of my own. I keep some photos on my digital camera (does anyone else?) Just my favourite ones, of dear friends, of very special occasions, and one, in particular that makes me smile. As they were finishing I asked the hosts if they would like to see a picture of my babies. They looked a little perplexed, Dad reached for his Savingnon Blanc, Mum smiled, then looked confused, then smiled again. Everyone seemed to wonder how much wine i'd consumed and had I gone a little more bonkers than usual.

I handed over the camera, set to the appropriate photo and this is what they saw ...



My babies, or at the very least, my littlest obsession.

7 comments:

Chandramouli S said...

Ahhhh! That was sweet. True said about the dreams and reality. Even mine were similar with some masculine version (LOL!) and I already sure that life's not going to be like that even after 4 year when I'll be 28, but life goes on and you strive to make it better.
No matter whom you love or hate in life, you can never hate these lushy babies, can you? I'm sure not!

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

I could have wrote this post. I had similar ambitions as a girl and have had similar realizations as an adult. I'm with ya Prue!

siskelkk said...

Solidarity worldwide! I love it

Michelle said...

Brings back memories of my balcony garden when I was 28 - nowhere near as nice as yours. My how the years have flown. Two decades (roughly)later my plants and my cats are still my babies! My siblings took care of the grandkid thing, thank goodness.

buedamau said...

nice to see we're not the only ones! at 28 i had 2 or 3 plants, and now at 33 my balcony looks like yours, but with even more pots ;P
i can't just control it, the only thing that stops me is the lack of free space! bugs and fugus are annoying but I fight them as hard as i can and just hope for the best...
but your balcony seems very healthy and green. and refreshing of course :)

Vanillalotus said...

That is a great story with a cute ending. I do the same with my plants and dogs. I don't think any ones life goes how they planned when they were younger. I know I had goals and dreams and thought somethings would never happen until I was older. By the way I'm 21 and love to garden and have to say everyone in local groups and so forth are so not near my age. I think gardening hits people later in life when they have homes or apartments. Some catch the bug and others feel they can't keep anything alive. I used to love plants but didn't know how to take care of them and just thought I would never be able to garden or keep an ivy or fern alive. That has changed but it took knowledge and persistence.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who takes the time to insist they're deliriously happy isn't in fact deliriously happy. Ponder that one on your balcony.