April was a tricky month. Formlabs is bustling; we announced a big new product to the world and now the days are spent on the final tweaks to get it into our customer’s hands. And what is my role in all of this? I am, well, focused on growing some vegetables in our still-too-short New England daylight.
Silly comparisons aside, my work is quite disconnected from the big project that is now so thoroughly in the spotlight – I’m quite busy on Fuse, our beautiful freak of a machine, and I’m quite excited to someday share what I’ve been working on! But despite reality being the contrary – it has felt a bit like the world is passing me by. Getting past that notion isn’t easy, and recent happenings in life have lead me down a path lately of not knowing what is in store for the future. Some people turn to the wilderness, or go on big, expensive adventures to find a purpose (which I guess you could say I did last summer…), but I needed to find something a bit more local this spring to take my mind off these thoughts.
Gardening is a great hobby turn to in moments like this – it’s both productive, relaxing, and time consuming. The trifecta of distraction! It’s also a soft spot for me – my late mom was prolific in her vegetable garden, and my memories of hiding in the cool, sweet-smelling corners of the sprawling patch in our front yard during the summer – filled with gigantic tomato vines, bean trellises, and sunflowers have always stuck with me. I won’t wax too poetic and claim to be carrying the torch or anything like that – but I can’t deny there is some feeling of connection there.
I attempted to start some vegetables last in 2017, when I hid a few pots and trays in an unused stairwell of the building on campus where I worked (In hindsight, better documenting that would have been a good idea…). It definitely took up more of my time than a hobby should have, but it also gave me a routine, which I found helpful in keeping the ball rolling in the few chaotic months leading to my graduation. Starting from scratch is very rewarding – not only do you save a significant amount of money by growing from seed, but the feeling of seeing something increase in size by several orders of magnitude from nothing more than a bit of water, light, and various chemicals is pretty incredible. Maybe that’s what it feels like to be a parent? Probably not quite the same, but it is pretty easy to fall into the trap of calling the newly sprouted seeds the babies.
This year, I might not have the similar levels of stress, and I’ll admit my life is a lot more predictable now than when I was on the cusp of entering the adult world. But I do think a routine, on top of the daily tasks of the office, is a good thing for me right now. Hopefully now that I am armed with more disposable income, a bit more time in the evenings, and some friends with similarly-colored thumbs, the fruits – or tubers, or whatever of the labor will be a bit greater!