One day, I realized I was not a tractor.
At the time I lived on 8/10 of an acre in the high desert of southern California. Most of my yard was dirt, but it was nice dirt; a hilltop property with a view of distant mountains that turned rose-pink in the sunset. A vineyard, with 60 grapevines. Pine trees ran along the fenceline.
But it did need a lot of work, and I already had a full-time job, plus a one-hour commute. How to keep the yard looking nice? I decided, because I believe that lots of little moves add up to big things, that I would do 20 minutes of yard work every evening. It would add up to a neat-looking yard.
(No, I didn’t live alone, but my soon-to-be-ex-husband was more interested in watching TV.)
So I started the new program. Got the hula hoe out and scraped those baby tumbleweeds right into the trash. Raked leaves, trimmed bushes. The yard looked good, but within days, my joints started to hurt in that special way that tells you “Keep this up, Wonder Woman, and you’ll have lifelong problems.”
It was then I realized that while the yard was big, the amount of cartilage in my joints was small.
Put one up against the other, and guess who wins? Not the elbows, hips, knees or lower back.
I found money in my very tight budget for a gardener, a mow-and-blow guy. Then I got a divorce. Then I got a new husband, sold the house and moved into a senior community with a teeny little yard (it has a view, so it feels bigger.) And I am so happy! I even have a cherry tomato plant growing in a pot.
You can only do so much, and it doesn’t make me feel bad any more to say that. I think this is one of the cool things you get with maturity, a blessing to offset the unfortunate reality of being older. We realize we’re not immortal. But we don’t feel like we have to be tractors, either.