I fully agree that we need to be more proactive about teaching schoolchildren the fundamentals of modern life. Financial education; preparation for the world of work; explanations of how mortgages and rental contracts workâ€¦ lessons like these would mean that come their early 20s young people might not feel so stressed and adrift.
One thing in particular: how did I get to my mid-20s without knowing that it is possible to murder a plant by overwatering it? Water is the elixir of life. I did not think anything could be bad about water. (Yes, I know it is possible to drink too much and cause brain cells to swell, please do not write in; but I did not consider how this could translate to plants.)
The popularity of pot plants has risen in the past decade. This is mocked as a hipster affectation rather than being seen for what it truly is â€“ a relatively cheap and easy way for the masses in rental apartments to put their stamp on a place. And to make it feel homely, when tenancies are often insecure and painting the walls can result in losing thousands of pounds in a deposit.
It seems slightly uncouth for elders, sitting on property assets, to mock my generation for enjoying a spider plant in the sitting room, a baby fern in the bathroom, a cactus in the kitchen. Add to this the fact that it is scientifically proven that contact with nature and greenery (any contact â€“ even a view) is beneficial to mental health, and the boom in pot plants is even more understandable. Pot plants have been found to increase peopleâ€™s productivity by up to 15%. Thereâ€™s evidence to suggest they might improve air quality.
Did I ever think I would become a person who got excited about a weekend trip to a garden centre? Reader, I did not. But then, I never thought Donald Trump would become president of the United States. I know which one I prefer.
I still havenâ€™t learned the scientific (ie, Latin) names for most plants; but then I can listen to albums all the way through and sometimes not know the titles of the songs I love. And arenâ€™t we supposed to be living in a time of diminishing importance of labels?
As for my plant-caring skills, the turning point came when an ex-partner bought me a bonsai (I named him Yury; I donâ€™t know why but he is definitely a he). I have managed to keep Yury going for two years, which was longer than I managed to keep the relationship alive. How wonderful, how cheering, to walk into a garden centre and be reminded that the world is growing and changing all the time, each day anew.