Why Caring for Plants Means Caring for Yourself

Why Caring for Plants Means Caring for Yourself

The advantages of having a care in the (natural) world
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Last June, my friend Hunter gave little succulents to all his graduation party guests. Well, maybe not all of his guests. I had to leave early. Later, when he realized that I hadn't taken a plant, I assured him that "I like plants better outdoors." I wasn't feeling the succulents scene. The heavily-filtered tumblr posts that captured fields of French wildflowers attracted me, but the ones that presented a corner shelf of potted cacti seemed lackluster. This sounds like a bad case of overthinking, and for me, that's no surprise- but I truly sensed that greenery belonged in the wild, in its own ecosystem, and in no system of mine.

However, my ecosystem developed. At my Haverford College apartment, three succulents sit on my windowsill. At my family home, four claim a sun-friendly spot in the study. I love them.

My first plant was a gift from my school. One September day, the arboretum staff set up a table in the dining center and distributed "freshman plants." There were all sorts of plants, but I picked up a mantis-green succulent buddy. I named him "Orlando" so that I could tell people his name and finish the sentence with, "even if he doesn't Bloom." (Get it? Get it?) Although Freshman Plant Day might simply exist to advertise the arboretum, I feel that literally giving life to college students- or to anyone- is a beautiful thing, and here's why.

Nurturing something makes you feel really good.

I have named my three apartment succulents Orlando, Keira, and Johnny- after the leading actors in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. They are a kind of family, and I am responsible for them. They're not human, but they help me celebrate being a human, being someone who cares about community and about perpetuating life to its fullest.

When it comes to paying attention to others' needs... I fail, a lot. But I want to improve, and maintaining plants is good practice. Just like babies or dogs, plants cannot use words to tell you what they need... unless there's some freaky Little Shop of Horrors stuff happening. As a succulent owner, I have to pay attention to the signs and learn what they mean- if Johnny and Keira's tips begin turning pale brown, I can't assume that the same method will remedy both. I have to invest in learning a new language. The other day, I was fairly sure that my succulents were experiencing drainage problems, so I took them on a field trip to find pebbles; that chill, exploratory time nourished my entire day.

Green relieves stress.


Some people don't believe in color psychology, but many do. And if you have ever been in a hospital that wasn't painted white, I bet I can guess what color it was painted, at least partially. Green! Since it is the color of nature and isn't usually an overwhelming sensory experience, green can de-stress you. If you're looking for a bit of brightness, you don't necessarily have to go for the classic option, a vase of already-dead flowers. You can allow a bit of dirt into your space, because with it comes the sweet serenity of beloved, living color.

Plants get you excited about something genuinely good.

It wasn't Orlando, no. But one of my little guys bloomed. I did not watch the whole process, but when I began to notice the bud, I felt inexplicably proud of the plant... and when a flower finally opened, I could barely believe it. When I am hype for an event, it isn't the same as feeling the thrill of something as simple as this.

Therefore, forsooth, alas, etc... I present a turnaround story and a compelling idea. Before I knew the joy of having succulents in my life, I was missing out on a lot. If you want a new form of self-care, divert your attention towards one or two of these small friends; the love you give them will only grow.

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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12 Songs That Prove You're A Sucker For The Jonas Brothers

It's been a long, long time.

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This past week, the Jonas Brothers released a song and music video starring their wives (and in Joe's case, fiancee), completely shocking fans given the fact that there was pretty much no prior warning. As rumors are running rampant about their getting back together and a possible tour, now seems like a good time to reflect on their past. Specifically, my favorite songs that they've written. And if the rumors are true...I hope to find new favorites soon.

1. "Inseparable"

2. "Australia"

3. "Hold On"

4. "Shelf"

5. "Can't Have You"

6. "Turn Right"

7. "SOS"

8. "Sorry"

9. "Black Keys"

10. "First Time"

11. "Hey Baby"

12. "Paranoid"

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