... which is, of course, the lesson to be learned. When life gets cluttered and confused, the act of pruning serves to clear away some of the unneeded growth and create space for newer, stronger, healthier sprouts to flourish. I have slowly been putting together a yet-to-be-completed book of essays on this very subject. It's called, provisionally, "This Is Not Me," and it's about the pruning process: shedding parts of myself that once served me well, but which I no longer need at this stage of my life. I have been distracted from that book by what seemed like other priorities. It's time to get finished with those and turn my attention back to that earlier goal.
As for the gardening--of course Ellie is right. It's healthy not only for the body but for the mind. Mens sana... In the broader perspective, it's a useful reminder that the way to maintain one's sanity in a frenzied world where nothing makes much sense any more is to do what Voltaire recommended: il faut cultiver son jardin. (Tend your own garden.)