Last weekend, I was happy and proud of what I had accomplished. It was time for me to reap the fruits of my labor. After weeks of tending to, there were 34 tomatoes from my balcony garden. The ravishing red bubbles against the backdrop of green leaves, the yellow flowers, and the black soil, made for a pretty sight. It was difficult to convince myself to taste them as they looked adorable!

It was easy to get started. There were tons of reading material for beginners to start a balcony garden. All I needed were a few pots, some seeds, potting mix and I was ready to go. As I was new to this, I wanted to take things one plant at a time. Tomatoes were the easiest ones to start with. I still remember how excited I was when the shoots started sprouting. Inspired by the success, I moved on to a few easy herbs and flowers. Now there is coriander, mint, spinach, basil, Alyssum (flowers) in my garden. I’m waiting for the marigold and capsicum plants to grow.

It always feels great to witness the results of our labor. More so, if the results are tangible.

Sometimes I miss the satisfaction of being able to touch and feel our work. Everything we do is online. Most of them are confined to the screens of our phones, tabs or TV. Of course, I like the convenience of going digital. But at times I feel that we forget things if they aren’t tangible. It ends up getting lost among everything else.

I still remember the first greeting card I made for my parents. I remember how I was into a painting phase and made a beautiful glass painting of Lord Krishna. I have a copy of my first article that got published in a leading daily. I remember a photo album I made for my husband. I remember the hand-written letters from a few friends. Every time I see them or hold them, I experience the same satisfaction I was when I first made/received them. I don’t get that feeling when I look at e-Gift cards and emails from friends. I wrote farewell emails to my friends right after we left college. But the hand-written scrapbook notes from school make me happier.

The best part of these possessions is how you can relive those memories when you come across it a few years later. It’s like a piece of your life from the past that you can go back to at any instant. Growing up, I used to collect certificates, greeting cards and things that mattered to me. I also stored very special gifts. Last year, when I went home, I inspected that special box. Apart from the old stuff I also found my first phone, 5 running medals (10km runs) and a few more special belongings. While the intention is to not hoard, it helps to remind yourself about who you were a few years ago and feel good about yourself.

After I got back from my trip back home, I tried to look around my environment for signs of my work. There were none. I couldn’t find anything that I could say I did this and take some pride in it. You see, I’d been writing, reading, playing games and doing everything digitally. I missed having things around me that would remind me of what I’ve done and make me feel better when I need some motivation.

That’s when I took up gardening. The thrill of watching something grow and seeing every new development is exciting. That got me thinking and I decided to make better use of the corners of my home. I took my travel souvenirs and stuck them on the fridge to look back at those wonderful holidays. I printed photos of my family from special occasions, created a collage and hung them up in our living room. Relationships are hard work! I printed out 3 of my favorite posts and kept them along with a few physical books I had in my showcase. I printed out my appreciation and promotion papers and filed them too. I started cooking/baking more to appreciate that I’d indeed come a long way in improving my culinary skills. The more I “created” something from scratch, it helped me realize that I was capable. That did help me thwart all those doubts about my worth.

Now, when I look around, I feel happy that I’ve done/I’m doing something worthwhile. The plants brighten my mood at any time. Every time I look at the souvenirs, I relish the time I took off. I think about the places I visited with my loved ones. When I re-read my work, I feel happy about working my way to getting published. I look at the appreciation certificates for my contributions at work and feel happy for being recognized. Every time people tell me that they loved my baked goodies, I feel happy for making someone happy. The more I surround myself with proof of a few things that I’ve done, it helps me reinstate the faith in myself.

I’ve found this helpful especially on days I’m plagued by self-doubt and keep questioning my worth. Sometimes you snap out of it quickly. But on certain bad days, it opens a Pandora’s box and becomes overwhelming to handle. On such days, nothing can make you feel better than seeing proof of your work. So I do what I like doing best – I cook something, buy flowers and arrange them on the vase or practice block lettering. You know you’re not making it up because it’s right there, staring at you saying, “You need some time to figure out things now. But you know what? You did good kid!”

Image Courtesy: Pixabay