The Price of Neglect: A Life Lesson

It was wintertime when pack up our stuff from our first home to settle into the new. Relative to where we previously live (Singapore & the Philippines), Austin, TX winter is cold.

During the house walkthrough, we didn't notice something is missing in our new home. It was after we moved in we realize there was no grass in the backyard, just plain old dirt.

Wait... shouldn't that come with the house? Supposed to be. That's what we expected. But reality didn't deliver. (Or the builder.)

Nah, it's only a cinch!

Sure! It's something we could do something about. Unfortunately, we procrastinated. Boo! No one in the household is willing to brave the Austin cold -- which averages at 16 degrees Celcius by the way -- and do work on the yard. We were plagued by excuses.

Winter: It's cold out there! Let's wait come spring.
Spring: It's rainy, muddy, and crummy. Let's wait come summer.
Summer: Ugh! What's that in the yard?

We allowed that space to remain bare in it's rawest form for months end. Until one day, I happened to look outside and found a sunflower plantation. Yikes! When did that take place?

We let the task slide for a day, thus, work piled up into months until one day we saw disaster!

The Price of Neglect: A Life Lesson
[photo from McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas 2015]

Overnight, after the spring rain came, the seeds we didn't sow emerged. Come summer, the yard was buzzing with activity, densely packed with ugly greenery.

Whatever you compromise will always come to hunt you back.

It's true, the husband and I can attest to it, there was a sunflower plantation growing in our yard. (I wish I had taken a photo of it back then.) They towered to an overwhelming height of 6 feet tall, taller than my 5 foot 1 stature. (lol)

Not only that, but there were also other unsightly weeds with large networks of underground stems.

Sizing up the work required in the backyard, stress piled up in my stomach, rising up to my throat, and hitting the base of my skull with a fist. Sigh!

At that time, I wasn't willing to hire help. I wanted to do the uprooting myself before seeding the grass of our choice. And so, strength and stamina we exhaust weekend after weekend under the sweltering Texas heat.

One by one, we cut, pulled, piled, and bagged the sunflower stalks by hand -- using garden gloves of course -- with hairy prickly stems including their troublesome weedy neighbors.

We only stop when the lid of our 96-gallon garbage container would no longer close. They overflow faster than running water, valves turned to maximum flow, streaming into the bathtub.

Here's a reference on how tall these sunflowers grow.

It sure was needless work. Had we acted early on, the pulling madness under the energy-sapping Texas heat wouldn't have happened. Bruh, too late for that!

Life Lesson

Most of the time, if not all, we act only when we see the disastrous results rearing its ugly head. If we don't see it, then it's not urgent though important. If it's not pressing enough, then it's something that should be addressed for later, when it's already too late.

Sure, we know the best time to address them should have been at its early stage but failed to do so.

Thus, we waste unnecessary effort trying to get rid of unwanted outcomes, fighting worthless battles, wasting resources on futile projects for failure of taking action.

Oh, the price we pay for neglect!

Six foot high weeds don't grow in a day. Troubles don't peak at the same time they are lit. It happens by stages, by progression, an accumulation of little things stacked up one after the other until it advances to something nobody likes.

How are you tending your yard?

I like this quote from Stephen Covey from his book First Things First,

Our lives will bring forth anyway. Things will grow. But the difference between our own active involvement as gardeners and neglect is the difference between a beautiful garden and a weed patch.

The thing is...

Your dream garden requires effort. Good results necessiates work. Beneficial progress involves action. Success demands a cost.

What price are you willing to give? Is it the price careful attention, prudence, and diligence; or the price of neglect?

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