During midterms this past semester, I decided to buy myself some flowers on a stressful day. Since then, I have made it a weekly tradition to go on a solo date to buy fresh flowers, and it brings me more joy than I ever expected.
Flower shopping is an exciting experience — I never know what my options are going to be when I walk into the grocery store or the farmer’s market. And I never know which flowers will draw my attention.
I didn’t know anything about flowers before I began this tradition. Tulips, sunflowers and hydrangeas were all the same in my eyes.
When I began learning about flowers, I was captivated. I wanted to know which ones lasted the longest — from my experience, it’s chrysanthemums and orchids — and which ones looked the best when arranged together. So, I experimented.
In January, I bought enough flowers to fill all the tables, desks, countertops and nightstands in my apartment. Then, I made five or six arrangements with every type of flower I could find.
I take my time when arranging my flowers and I follow a ritual. First, I sit down at my kitchen table and lay all the flowers out. I pick a larger base flower and a smaller accent flower, and I cut every stem individually because staggering the lengths gives the arrangement more dimension.
I pour some of my flower freshening crystals to help the stems absorb water more easily, and pair the flowers based on color. I loved purples and blues together, but not yellow and red.
I noticed adding some baby’s breath — which have tiny white flowers sprouting from thin green stems — to any arrangement makes it whimsical and dream-like, and is essential to finish off all of my arrangements.
I also learned how to care for my flowers — I would cut a small section of the stems off every other day — and it made me happy to see them come back to life each time I watered them.
Tending to the flowers quickly became my favorite time of the day. It was a responsibility I liked having and one that felt rewarding.
My apartment is more vibrant when filled with flowers, and it smells like a garden. My friends said they always look forward to seeing what I picked out and arranged that week, and I look forward to showing them.
I never realized what a conversation-starter flowers can be. I had a wonderful interaction with someone in a long line at the grocery store just a couple weeks ago. She was a woman around my age who asked who all the flowers in my cart were for. I told her they were for me.
This catalyzed a talk about self-love and the importance of finding joys in the small things in life. In the middle of our conversation, she asked if I could hold her spot in line while she ran to get something.
A couple minutes later, she returned with a bundle of peach-colored roses, holding them up to her mask with sparkling eyes.
“This is such a good idea,” she said.
I have been trying to live in the moment more lately — something my flowers help me do in so many ways. They ground me and occupy my senses when I feel anxious or sad. They give me something to look forward to and are a way to prioritize my alone time.
I am so grateful for my flowers. They are a daily reminder to stop and smell the roses — something we all should be doing more often.
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Email Liza Esquibias: firstname.lastname@example.org