As long as I can remember, my house has been filled with plants. My gramma holds an affection for them, so there were always varieties of flowers, especially orchids, lining the side tables and window sills. We even have a focus in the middle of our living room. It’s safe to say that I grew up appreciating that kind of aesthetic.
Coming to college, then, was a bit strange for me. The dorm rooms are regular and boxy and they’re completely devoid of any life before you move into them. It makes the air taste stiff. That’s why, within my first week of being here, I wanted to liven the place up a bit. Taking after my gramma, I wanted to fill my room with plants of my very own.
So I got a cactus.
A Christmas cactus, to be exact; reminiscent of one that my gramma took care of several years ago. I got this cactus, placed her on my window sill, and I named her Clementine.
It was a very proud moment for me.
I had tried to grow plants in the past, but they never quite branched out (pun absolutely intended). Clementine was my first adult attempt at keeping a plant alive. I wanted nothing more than for her to flourish and blossom under my care. Each watering was carefully timed, and many, many online growing tutorials were perused. Needless to say, I was very invested.
The thing about cacti, though, is that they don’t actually need much attention at all. If anything, the less you mess with them, the more they’ll thrive. That’s a really good deal for a college student. Clementine doesn’t miss me while I’m in class or studying in the library, and I’m not worried about her suddenly wilting within the span of a few days. It’s the perfect arrangement.
Unless you’re me and get bored with untouchable objects really easily. After the first few days, Clementine didn’t need to be watered or shown any extra care, so I couldn’t do much aside from staring at her. She was the exact opposite of interactive. I wanted to be able to do something else with her, but I didn’t have many options.
Clementine didn’t seem to mind. She’s a plant, though. What does she know?
Another thing that’s happened for as long as I can remember is my family’s tradition of partaking in certain fiber crafts, most commonly knitting and crocheting. For reasons that escape me, I decided to bring along my yarn and crafting tools with me to college. This ended up being a brilliant decision because my fear of social interaction mixed with my insistence to do my homework in my dorm room (stupid idea) made me into a bit of a homebody during my first quarter.
So, whenever I wasn’t working, I was usually watching Netflix, and I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kind of person who can sit still to watch anything. I have to be doing something with my hands. Crocheting was the obvious solution to this problem.
All I needed was something to make. I didn’t have any big projects that I was working on and there weren’t any people who I wanted to make gifts for. I had a size J hook and a small ball of white yarn that had been sitting around inside my closet for years but no ideas for what to do with them.
Then I turned my head, almost instinctively, to the window sill.
There she sat, pensively staring out into the world beyond the glass.
I was struck with inspiration.
In less than a day, I had made an entire scarf, fringe and all, for my cactus. I wrapped it around her pot with a large grin on my face. As brief as it was, I had found my interactivity. I got to spend my time making something, and Clementine got a fancy new accessory to flaunt in her window seat. Another perfect arrangement.
Since then, my roommate and I have adopted a variety of other plants. Each of them, just like Clementine, is dressed in its own handmade scarf. They look absolutely precious when they’re all lined up together, like a little plant family.
Our little plant family.
The moral of the story is a simple one:
Activities can be fun on their own, but when added together, they can develop surprising new layers of depth.
I don’t only own plants to put scarves on them, and I don’t only make scarves for my plants, but, in a weird way, the two activities feed on each other. I’m inspired to crochet for my plants, and I’m inspired to care for my plants by crocheting.
I’m sure this can be applied to tons of other things. Maybe you like reading books and making playlists, but you’ve never tried those things in conjunction. Or, maybe you like taking walks and writing poetry, but you’ve never gone on a walk to write poetry or written poetry about going on walks.
Even my inability to enjoy streamed content without some sort of slight distraction can be an example! The possibilities are truly limitless, and you may learn some interesting stuff about yourself along the way.
You may even discover your newest passion!