Stop Mowing the Weeds

I moved into my new-to-me house last September and have enjoyed watching things bloom and grow in my yard through the Spring and Summer.  I’m relieved to have a smaller yard (downsized from 2 1/2 acres); gardening and mowing are now doable tasks without committing an entire weekend. I’ve downsized my life as well: big yard to little yard; big house to little house; lots of stuff to less stuff; “frenemies” to friends; couple to single. I had to do a lot of weeding on all fronts during the transition and it wasn’t easy.

My previous yard had beautiful green grass. My new lawn, well, not so much. The dirt is more sand than anything else. The few times I’ve mowed, I kicked up enough dirt and sand to look like I just face-planted in a dirt pile. My friends know this is a very real possibility. I’ve managed to locate 6 or 7 healthy blades of grass among the dandelions, horse weed, crab grass, ragweed, quack grass, and mug wort (thank you Google Images). But as long as it looks like grass on the surface that’s good enough, right? For a minute maybe.

I went out this morning to weed and mow before the heat took over the day. The gardens looked good so I turned my attention to the lawn and the plethora of non-grass plants (weeds) protruding from same. I could clearly just mow over the weeds, like unpleasant problems, and move on with the rest of my yard.  But as I said, I’d done that before but the weeds kept coming back because the roots were still there, under the surface, ready to spring forth unbidden at any time.

I decided that today I would try the same approach with my lawn that I’d taken with my life. I would dig up the weeds first, thank them for keeping the soil together when nothing else would, and then unceremoniously toss them into the pile of detritus that no longer served a purpose in my life. I grabbed my pitchfork and shovel, my tools of destruction, to have at it.

The smaller weeds came out easily with a twist and turn of my hand. Gone. The larger weeds, the ones that had planted themselves and taken root many years ago, took quite a bit of effort and I considered just cutting off the tops to make things look better. But I was committed to doing the work to rid myself of them long term, roots and all. After about 45 minutes I looked around and realized that once I dealt with the weeds, the rest of the lawn looked pretty good.

Weeding is hard work. I fully anticipate that some of the weeds will return on occasion and some new weeds will appear as well. But now I have the tools to manage them. Stop mowing the weeds.

weeding

 

 

 

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Now What?

A year ago today I walked across the stage at Franklin Pierce University to receive my doctorate in leadership. It had been a loooong road and I had finally crossed the finish line. Now what?

My mornings, evenings and weekends were no longer filled with reading, writing, giving up, and walking away. I shamed myself into recommitting when my adviser, the wonderful Dr. Maggie Moore-West, continued to cheer me on as she’d done from the first day I started the program until the day I finally received that coveted signature page and diploma. Now what?

Okay, so it freed up a little time and a lot of stress which I could now easily reinvest into something else. I liked the little bump in pay at work but the bragging rights? I’m so ill-equipped for this bragging thing that it took me almost a year to add “Dr.” to my email signature and only with the repeated encouragement of my fellow docs at Keene State College. The signature was the compromise to shouting it from the rooftops so often suggested. I’m not accustomed to thinking of myself as accomplished or successful. It’s not the view I have of myself but how could it be when I’ve been beating myself up for years?

Fortunately, there are other people in my life who do see that. I was humbled to have three of my sisters travel hundreds of miles to share that moment with me; to witness and cheer my accomplishment. I received well wishes from family, friends and colleagues.  They knew it was a big deal and helped me admit it.

So now what? I went into the program because I love the idea of learning, a gift from my mother. I also wanted to fulfill her longstanding desire to wear the doctoral tam. Although she passed away 8 months before I graduated, I’m sure she was there is spirit thinking of the Sorbonne.

I completed the program, the research, the dissertation and the graduation. And I’m still trying to figure out, “Now what?”