Old me vs. Real me

Earlier today, as I stood sopping wet, garden fork in hand, I chuckled to myself as I remembered the old me. The old me was pretty downtrodden whilst sat in an office, 40 hours a week; the old me didn’t know why she was miserable and couldn’t pin point what it was that she really wanted to do. I used to sit looking out the window on days like today and watch the umbrella clad business men and women flit past my window with sympathy as they rushed about avoiding the puddles. Today I was actually begging for some rain. I needed the rain to come and wash away the hundreds of flies that pestered me as I worked. Most people dodge and moan about the rain but I’ve grown to love it. I love what it does to the garden and I love that I’m probably one of the few people still out there when the downpour starts. The old me, in her uncomfortable office clothes and straightened hair would have loathed having to go out on a day like today but the new me/real me smiled and got on with work.

I finally arrived at gardening as a career only a few years ago and sometimes struggle to believe it took me until my late 20s to get here. My path here was not straightforward with a dual degree in Music and Media studies, a first job as an admin assistant for my local authorities music service, and after that a move towards finance. It wasn’t until the hubby and I moved to be nearer family that I had the epiphany. I’m not sure what I was thinking but when we upped sticks and moved, I completely quit work in the hope of finding something relatively quickly…massive fail there!! I couldn’t find work in the sectors that I had previously worked in and on the eve of an interview for a job that I knew I would hate I finally realised what it was that I wanted. I just had to find a way to tell the hubby that I wanted to spend the rest of my life outdoors in the countryside and would he come to an open day at my nearest agricultural college. I proceeded to spend the best two years of my life learning about environmental and countryside management alongside like minded people. Until that point I had always felt out of place at work, always felt like I just didn’t fit in to that office environment and now I know why. For the first time since my high school football days, I was finally part of a team that I wanted to be part of. The constant banter, inappropriate humour and innuendos of a male dominated industry have kept me entertained ever since.

It was while I was at college that I started volunteering at my local National Trust formal garden and it was there where my green fingers begun to flourish. I’ve always been interested in trees and plants but never really considered gardening as a job. But then I had never been given the option to consider that my love of the outdoors and all things green could give me a calling in life but here I am today – wet, muddy and as happy as a pig in muck.

I really hope the Little One grows up loving the outdoors as much as I do. If she doesn’t, so be it, but she’s definitely showing signs of some kind of enjoyment as she continues to gurgle at the trees from her pram. At least, unlike me, she will know all about both outdoor and indoor careers. Her and Nana only made it to the garden once today though – clearly neither are as big a fan of the rain as I am. I’ll have to work on that!

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