How I Am Using My Grandfather’s Philosophy of “Repotting” Myself Every 5 Years
Just Like Plants, We Need New Pots To Grow
My grandfather and grandmother are 97 years old. Needless to say, they have lived a full life. Throughout their journey together, they’ve had many different chapters. My grandfather Koert, who I am proudly named after, describes these chapters as “repottings.” He believes that we should uproot ourselves every five years or so to allow for new experiences to unfold.
I first heard this philosophy from my mom—the daughter of these two amazing people. She shared the concept with me 10 years ago when I moved from Colorado to California to attend college. It has stuck with me ever since.
According to my grandfather, we are not so different than house plants. We need environments where we can thrive, places that will help us grow. Repotting doesn’t have to be an extreme life change. It can be as simple as exploring a new hobby or changing roles within a company. The idea is that, like plants, we need fresh perspectives and new environments to thrive.
When my husband and I recently moved across the country, I was reminded of this philosophy. We considered many different perspectives in preparing for the move. My grandfather’s philosophy helped us to process the “whys” behind making a change along with the “hows” for making it possible.
Below are a few of my grandfather’s thoughts to consider when preparing for changes in your own life. Just remember, whether big or small, uprooting and repotting takes patience, so be gentle with yourself.
Ask Yourself The Hard Questions
Start by asking yourself, “Why do I want to make a change?” Consider what comes to mind first. When we were considering moving, I thought about this question, and the answer came easily. It was a non-complicated yearn to be closer to my family.
Next, ask yourself, “Will I be able to thrive and succeed if I make this change?” Again, the change does not have to be big. Sometimes change comes from within, through small experiences. When considering this, my grandfather says to ask yourself if you want to spend your life in the same place, doing the same things. If the answer is yes, that’s great! If the answer is no, consider life changes that allow you to grow where you’re currently planted—like learning to make sourdough.
For me, the first answer came without effort. Whereas the second question has been less of a clear answer and more of a knowing that the risk will be worth the reward. Sometimes it’s about listening to the heart.
Know Your Limits
Outside of listening to our hearts and taking risks, my grandfather also recommends being practical in how and when we repot ourselves. For one, he encourages financial stability.
Moving can be expensive. My husband and I made sure we felt safe and secure with our finances before making the leap. Additionally, for us to feel secure in our big change, we wanted to make sure we still had community. Being near friends and family to support us in our new environment was important for finding stability. When repotting yourself, the key is feeling comfortable—in the initial uprooting, during the transition, and as your roots take hold.
It’s also helpful to know your limits, to recognize when a significant change is right or if a small “repotting” is better for your circumstances. If a big change feels like it would cause more harm than good, listen to that. Consider speaking to friends and family who have made changes in their lives and see what their experiences were like.
Consider Your Loved Ones
My grandfather reminds us to consider how change may affect those closest to us. When we moved, we had to make the tough decision to leave friends and family behind. We had to think about how our decision would affect them. It was important for us to communicate with our loved ones and to discuss moving forward with them still in our lives. For those who were more cautious and questioning about our move, we loved hearing the different opinions and took them to heart. In the end, though, we had to decide what was best for us, and for the most part, everyone agreed the risk was worth the distance.
Celebrate The Ending of a Chapter
When my husband and I decided to move, I sat down and wrote about past life chapters and all of my successes. The exercise helped me to look vividly at the various times I have repotted myself throughout life. What I noticed was that growth has always correlated with taking risks. Some risks were greater than others, but each one planted a new seed.
Sit down with a pen and paper (or your computer) and write out what you consider to be your successes, from your first to today. Read through it, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy reflecting on your wins. Then dream about what will unfold next in your story.
Live Without Boundaries
What I love most about this philosophy is that it urges us to live without boundaries. My grandparents encourage following curiosity into new experiences.
When I’ve repotted myself, it’s always been for growth and expanding my horizon. We often put parameters around ourselves to protect us from being uncomfortable. Yet, sometimes, change comes into our lives without warning and we have to let go. As my grandfather says, “When it’s time to go, jump into that covered wagon, and say ‘Giddy-up!’”
Whether you are currently repotting yourself or change is on the horizon, look around at all you have cultivated. Remember, a new pot and a little extra water can go along way.
We would love to hear about your repotting journey in the comments below!
Courtney Jay is a writer at The Good Trade. She is also a yoga instructor, health enthusiast, and sustainable fashion advocate. She believes the most powerful way to nurture the planet is to nurture ourselves. You can find more of her writing and take one of her online yoga classes on her website Coincide.