Adopting A Succulent Showed Me How Rewarding Being Responsible Truly Is

Adopting A Succulent Showed Me How Rewarding Being Responsible Truly Is

For someone who was notorious for accidentally killing plants, this was a huge step in the right direction.

For the past two weeks, I've had the opportunity to take care of my own plant after years of failing. Part of me told myself to never adopt a plant because when I was younger, I would accidentally kill plants by pouring soap water in the soil to give them baths and whatnot. I'd never wanted to harm any of them, but because I didn't seem to have the magical touch, I prevented myself from getting a plant.

But as I passed by the succulent section at Home Depot a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but decide that it was finally time to see if I was able to take care of a living plant. I have to admit, the first few days were pretty nerve-wracking because I spent a lot of time worrying if I had given it enough sunlight or if I was following a good watering schedule. Thankfully, there were actually a lot of people with the same concerns online, so I had a clear vision for how I wanted to take care of the little succulent.

I then took to my social media to ask others what I should name my plant, and it came down to four choices: Dave, Carl, Lucy and Drake. After waiting a few hours for the majority vote to come in, the name had been decided, and the plant was named Dave.

I spend a lot of time around my desk just working, being on my phone or watching TV, but I felt that the best place to put Dave would be on my desk right underneath my lamp. That way, I'd be able to take care of it as I was going about my own day, and I'd have a little bit of décor to complement my otherwise-boring work area.

The toughest part of it all was watering the plant according to schedule because succulents are known for their ability to hold onto water long enough to last through droughts and long periods of time in general. I didn't know how often Dave had been watered before I had come along, so I figured watering it once a week as stated in the directions wouldn't harm it.

I watched carefully to make sure the leaves weren't changing color and texture according to how much water the plant had. Yellow and wrinkly meant the succulent did not have enough water, and mushy and black spots meant it was overwatered. There were a few black spots when I first brought the succulent home, but they eventually stopped showing up after a few days without water. A week later, the leaves weren't yellow and didn't gain any more spots, so I knew that a weekly watering schedule was perfect.

I really figured that I got the hang of the whole taking-care-of-a-plant gig, but there wasn't much evidence that I was succeeding besides the fact that Dave wasn't dying. Fortunately, a week after I bought it, I measured its height, and it had grown a centimeter to become six centimeters tall.

Now I know that this isn't anything major because plants are constantly growing, but for someone who was notorious for killing plants, this meant that I was really doing a good job! And I knew that no matter how much or little work it took to take care of a plant, the end result of watching it grow was worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Shreya Ravichandran

Popular Right Now

5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.


Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."

He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

A Walk Through The Woods That Eased My Pain

After a week of constant pain, a walk through pine flatwoods helped me feel alive and at peace.


A week of constant pain left me exhausted. All I wanted to do was lie in bed. I didn't want to go anywhere, but my husband wanted to work from the park, so we went. After sitting on the bench for a while, uncomfortable and aching, I remembered sometimes when you're in pain it helps to walk it off, so I decided to take the trail through the woods.

The woods at this park, like most parks in Florida, are made up of various tall pines and low-lying shrubs. It is called a pine flatwood. I walked the path slowly, not in a rush to get anywhere, just there to enjoy it. The pine left a sweet odor. Slash pines and longleaf pines towered above, their long straight trunks topped with long bright green needles that stood against the blue Florida sky.

My back still ached a little but felt much better, so I kept moving. The path weaved through the woods. Partially shaded by the trees. People passed me, but I didn't mind. They were busy exercising; I was busy enjoying. I loved the dense saw palmetto that lined the forest floor. Some woods are darker or mostly brown colored, especially on the floor that is often covered in fallen wood and leaves, but not these woods, these woods are vibrant shades of green, green that makes you feel alive. It made me feel more alive than I had in days.

Typically, when I take walks in the park, I spend time watching the birds, seeing which ones I can identify. This time on the trail there weren't many birds, so my attention was drawn to the pines, palmettos, and other plants instead. Often, these plants go unnoticed, serving as a backdrop to the more exciting parts of nature. But as I turned my attention to the trees, I noticed how stunning they were.

I looked up noticing how their branches spread in front of the sky. Then I looked at the endless palmettos, extending through the woods. The trees towered above me, yet they were a comfort, a shelter, that helped take my mind off the aching. The trees are still and peaceful, helping me to be still too. To stand confidently and breathe, and to also rest, clear my head, and know that it'll all be okay.

I walked through the trees for a while, not wanting to stop. It's important we all learn from trees. In their still, patience they know things that we fast-paced humans often forget in our busy lives. Life needs to be enjoyed, slowed down and still, our minds and our bodies. And when we do, it's healing. Walk slowly, take it in, notice the trees that we often forget to notice because they are still, but that doesn't mean they aren't the wisest of us all.

My aching was not cured, but as I returned from my walk, I felt at peace, rejuvenated, alive. Like the bright green towering pines, I stood proud and breathed in the fresh air.

Related Content

Facebook Comments