This morning before work, I took out the trash and noticed that Pedro, the man who maintains our property, had placed two chairs in our veggie garden so he didn't have to mow around them. The move was understandable, as the garden has been completely neglected this year.
As I transferred them back, I noticed the garden had become overrun by weeds. Our mint, which is abundant despite my neglect, was being strangled by weeds that had started on the outside of the garden box and now ruled the inside. I quickly began uprooting the weeds one by one. The more I pulled, the more I discovered. They had grown layers deep - intertwined between the mint and mulch and remnants of tomatoes and basil.
As I dug deeper, yanking up more twisted, powerful weeds, I realized our 20s can be a lot like this garden if we aren't careful. We start out planting basil, tomatoes, mint and peppers. We're dedicated; we tend to it and care for it.
But, the summer ends and as winter nears we forget about the garden. It freezes over during the coldest months and in the spring it stands forgotten by us, becoming whatever we have left it to be. Years go by and suddenly our once diverse and vibrant garden is simply mint and weeds.
This isn't to sound negative, but, instead to acknowledge that one of the greatest lessons I've learned in this decade is that we have to be intentional.
If we want a garden full of beautiful vegetables, we can't cross our fingers and hope it falls into place. Creating the life we want takes a lot of work. It takes prayer, practice, discipline and intention. It takes focus, trust and risks.
If we want to be a therapist or a doctor or spend a year abroad, we can't simply sit at our desks, hoping someone will give us that dream. If we feel led to start a business, we can't grind on other work, hoping someone will lay that foundation for us.
If we want a garden full of basil, tomatoes and peppers in the fall, we have to plant it in the spring and tend to it all summer. If we want a life made up of our dreams, hopes and goals we have to get out there and make it happen; we have to hustle and work for it. Before we know it, we just might find ourselves waking up in summer, surrounded by the fruits of our labor.