The most generally accepted meaning of the word cultivate is tend to, or care for. The way I see it, whenever we spend time talking about growth, we should really be talking about cultivation. Unfortunately, we always seem to be more interested in the yield of the seeds we sow than we are in the cultivation of them.
This, of course, is backward thinking. Ask any green-thumb, and they'll tell you that harvesting is the easy part. In order to enjoy the fruit at the end of the season, the crop must be cared for, nurtured, and protected.
I live in a neighborhood that is a great mix of young working families and folks who are deservedly enjoying their retirement years. As a result of their decades of hard work, my retired neighbors have plenty of time to cultivate beautiful, green, thick lawns. As a working stiff, I have much less time.
The reason my grass is not as green as my neighbors' is that I'm not cultivating it. It's that simple.
I'm not jealous, and I've never worried about keeping up with anyone except my partner and my kids. The thing is, I only have so much water. I, like every other human, have a limited capacity for cultivation. If I wanted my grass to look like the neighbors:
I'd have to cultivate the grass instead of my kids.
I'd have to cultivate the grass instead of my marriage.
I'd have to cultivate the grass instead of my friendships.
I'd have to cultivate the grass instead of my health.
I'd have to cultivate the grass instead of my craft.
Easy decisions, right?
The real question to ask yourselves is, why do I care so much about my neighbor's grass in the first place?
Or my neighbor's job?
Or my neighbor's marriage?
Or my neighbor's lifestyle?
Is it because you haven't been cultivating?
If you find that things seem greener on the other side, perhaps it's because your neighbor's job, marriage, lifestyle, or grass, are being cultivated. Know this my friend, looking over the fence is not going to make your grass any greener.
The good news is, wherever you commit to watering it, your grass will grow too.