Since 1982 I've been involved in local government Parks and Gardens. In that time I also did a twelve year stint designing gardens for the luxury home market. You learn a lot doing that. Much more than you realise at the time.
For the last three years I've not done much at all. Partly by choice, partly because the job market doesn't want to know over 50's. Then one day my wife says "you might be interested in this". It was an ad on Gumtree from someone wanting a gardener.
Normally, I wouldn't bother. For two reasons:
(a) it's a gardener ("I'm above that") and
(b) it's too far from home.
But I couldn't look away. The person had included a picture of their garden and it spoke to me. It was a large, formal Paul Bangay-type garden.
But you see these days I'm about motorcycling so having to ride to a job miles from home wouldn't be a chore, it'd be a bonus! So, sight unseen, I responded to the ad and said "I would LOVE to maintain your garden!" Long story short, I met the owner, showed her my portfolio of design work and she immediately said "yes". I now go there three mornings a week. I get my rides in for the week, she has someone at her garden every second day. We're both happy!
But the thing that has really surprised me is how much I actually love the work. The garden is a magnificent "rough diamond" just waiting to be cut and polished. The owner has significant resources and any improvements I want to make she approves. Happy days :) We've decided to aim for entering it in the 2019 Open Garden Scheme. By then it will be pretty nice but, God-willing, by 2028 it will be the finest garden in Perth. No empty boast here. It WILL. There will be nothing else like it.
The point of me telling you all this is because I want to encourage you to do something:
FOLLOW YOUR HEART.
Don't let the "that's beneath you" voice win. Bollocks to that. ALL work is honourable (well, some clearly isn't, but you know what I mean). When you're doing the thing that you would do for free, you know you've found your thing. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else, only to you. How do you find this "thing"? You learn to listen. As you go along in life, a little voice will frequently be telling you "I like this" but mostly it gets drowned out by "it's beneath you" or "it's not practical". You have to learn to hear "I like this and latch on to it. Follow it. Dismiss the loud, know-it-all "it's not practical" voice and follow the gentle, quiet one instead. Seriously, do this assiduously and something will happen. It takes a bit of courage though. I didn't do it for a long time because of what others might think. Then one day I realised that others don't think (about me). They're too busy worrying about what others think of them!. In that day I became free. And I'm here to tell ya folks, it feels pretty damn good. This blog has ultimately just been a cause for frustration. I haven't been able to produce the change I want to see. But on "the farm" (that's what I call the garden), I can MAKE the changes happen. In at least one small corner of the planet, I can create the world I want to see.