Hi, I am John Bayer the new Youth Mental Health First Aid Liaison. After a year working as a carpenter, I’ve decided to re-explore my passion for volunteer work which has led me to my current position as an AmeriCorps member. I like to hike, play tennis, and cook (just to name a few things). In this blog, I hope to share what I am passionate about and how these things have helped me to live a healthy (both mentally and physically) and fulfilling life.
When I moved out to Colorado and was stressed about starting a new job and living in an unfamiliar place, I wasn’t surprised when (with a little thought and less deliberation) I started to garden again.
On the twentieth floor, in my high-rise apartment, I painted a clay pot, bought a bag of soil, shook off the dirt from my first blunder with tomatoes, and resumed gardening.
At the beginning of this summer, I decided to try my hand at gardening. My friend Joe told me that growing things was easy. All you had to do was buy a few tomato plants and bags of soil and voila, your very own garden. After buying a few tomato plants and bags of soil (and a few other boring steps we can just fast-forward through), I was pleased to find that I did in fact have my own garden.
Now that I was a full-fledge gardener, I did what any good gardener would do; I watered my plants and watched them grow. And grow they did until a windy night came along and snapped my poor tomato plants right in half. As you can imagine, I was devastated. I had invested a solid month watering and pulling weeds. I watched as the plants doubled in size and sprouted little green tomatoes, only to wake up one morning to find the broken plants.
Gardening wasn’t a complete waste of time though. While I might have missed out on a few tomatoes, gardening was still a positive experience. It gave me something to look forward to when I came home from work. Unlike a chore, gardening gave back. Watering and pulling weeds wasn’t another dish that had to be scrubbed or room to be cleaned. It was being outside in the sun, getting my hands dirty, and feeling proud as my plants grew each day.
My challenge to you is (if interested): I recommend you look into gardening as a stress relief and coping strategy too. Gardening isn’t an answer to any problem you might be experiencing, just a fun activity that you might want to consider. After all, growing things is easy, you just need a few seeds and a bag of soil.
If you do end up gardening or already do, share with us a picture of your garden on Facebook. I’ll be sure to do the same!