In 2020 I learned how to garden. I learned how to delicately place each tiny seed deep into the rich, brown soil. I learned how to water the seeds—not too much and not too little. I learned how to be patient and let each seed sprout, knowing that one day it would blossom into a beautiful plant. I learned that plants need a specific environment that they enjoy. They have to feel comfortable and relaxed. Any time I buy or grow a new plant, I give it a name and keep it in my room for a while. I do this so that the plants will feel an emotional connection; I can keep a close eye on them and they won’t feel lonely. I play music that flows through my room and to each plant. I have found that taking extra care of my plants and making an emotional connection with them helps them grow strong and shine bright.
Over the past year I have grown many different types of plants: from succulents, which don’t need as much water or observation, to orchids, which are delicate and need extra care. Succulent petals are thick and strong on the outside but a little soft and mushy on the inside; the petals don’t fall off very easily. Orchids have delicate, thin petals that, if not cared for properly, can easily fall off. I also tended to many small potted trees, such as bonsai, money trees, and even bamboo—each needs to be cared for in a different way. Every plant has its own personality. Some are thick and strong on the outside but soft on the inside; others are very delicate and breezy.
In 2020 I also learned about people. I learned that there is always another perspective to a story; you can never really know what is going on in someone’s life. I learned not to make assumptions about people and to just be kind to everyone. I learned about people’s emotions and feelings. I learned that sometimes I have to step back and let someone be. But other times I need to leap into action and lend a helping hand. Sometimes all someone needs is a friend. I also learned that people feel more comfortable in specific environments or even just with specific people. For example, someone might feel more comfortable in their room compared to being in a new place where they’ve never been, like summer camp. A person might also feel more comfortable if they have a familiar face to look at, even if they are in an unfamiliar place. People are social creatures; they need each other to survive. They create communities, big and small, and each person is different and unique.
Plants are like people. People are like plants. In order to thrive, plants can’t be overwatered or underwatered—they need just the right amount. People are the same. Sometimes we just need a break from everything; other times we need someone to give us a warm hug or show a little kindness. Plants tend to grow better in more comfortable and familiar environments. People are the same. We develop and grow when we feel safe and comfortable. Plants become bright and beautiful when they receive care, love, kindness, and a strong connection with their caretaker. People are the same. We grow our personality and shine brightly when we feel loved, cared for, and connected to others. Plants create communities, and each plant is different—just like people. There are some communities where everyone is different, but we still have each other’s backs.