I’ve made it no secret that I’m allergic to yard work. I enjoy having a decently manicured lawn and I’m most definitely quick to judge when my neighbors get a little lax with theirs, but when it comes time for me to gas up my Troy-Built, I’m apt to find any excuse to avoid my fate. It’s not that mowing is all that hard, but my lawn has a number of strikes against it before I ever pull a cord:
First, it’s St. Augustine, which by look and feel, is awesome. It’s thick, it grows fast, it heals itself, and it’s hearty. On the contrary, all of those great positives quickly become negatives when you have to cut it.
Second, I live in the southern US. My mowing season typically runs from March until late October and I can recall a few times where a February and/or November cut was necessary as well. The only ‘season’ I can safely assume longer than my lawn maintenance routine is the never-ending one known as NASCAR.
Finally, from late May until late September, it’s just plain hot where I live. Last year we set a record for most days over 100F in the history of our area – a record worth bragging very little about to say the least. This year has been slightly better but walking behind a gas propelled engine in anything over 90F is uncalled for.
First world problems, I realize.
This past week as I was doing my weekly sweat-drenched laps in the front yard, I started to question once again the need for me to actually open the gate and continue on into the back yard. As much as I don’t enjoy mowing my front yard in the Texas summer heat, I like mowing my back yard even less mostly because I know nobody driving down my street actually knows what it looks like. Admittedly, it gets relegated to the every other and sometimes every third mow as compared to the weekly-ish spin that the front yard gets. I knew opening the gate meant another twenty minutes was in my future and that skipping it all together meant that I could be indoors with some cold water in less than three.
The back yard needed to be mowed and I lacked motivation.
Fortunately – and for the first time in a long while of mowing – motivation discovered me. As fast as I had written off the need for trimming the back yard, my sentiment changed and I became more inspired than ever to do it and do a decent job of it as well.
What changed? Perspective, I suppose.
In searching for motivation, I realized that while I mow my front yard for my neighbors, I mow the back yard for my boys.
I’m not a huge outdoors person (mostly because I’m a testing ground for every mosquito within a four mile radius) but my boys quite enjoy the comfortable confines of our back yard. They ride bikes, dig in the dirt, play in the sprinklers, shoot hoops, help in the garden, and most importantly to my oldest, play hours-upon-hours of baseball with anyone who will pitch to him or play catch with him.
The answer was there all along and I’m not sure if I couldn’t find it because I wasn’t looking or because I was asking the wrong questions.
As I quickly powered on through the open gate, I began wondering what other areas in life was I missing the forest for the trees as well. How many times do we manicure those things in the front yard — on the outside, in plain view — for everyone around to see while forgetting or neglecting the more important things that they don’t actually get a view of?
For me, it’s often. And hopefully now I’ll work a little harder to take care of them and get them to a point where they ought to be. Because more than likely, they’re the important things.
What say you? Worrying about the externals when there’s some internal things that need to be dealt with, directed or nurtured?
Motivation no longer eludes me; this week, I’m mowing the back yard.