Say hi to David Freeman, the guy occupying the hot seat in today’s Life Lessons. David’s a cool guy and very good at what he does. I have to give him credit for coming out to Chez Good Enough and trying to give the Head GEM some ideas on what to do with this thing called a backyard. For that, and the fact that he is one of our male GEMs, David has my undying appreciation. Anyway, read more about what makes David click and if you want to be a part of our fun exercise, click here; we’ll get the questions out to you right away!

Are you happy at the moment?

I see “Happiness” as an extreme emotion, like “Sadness”. I do, however, believe I’m the most content I’ve been in my life since childhood.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

To try to step outside of yourself  and understand how you are perceived and why you are perceived as such. Learning to understand and love your true self is the key building block to all that will later come into play.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

That I make a million little choices every day that affect my overall contentment and satisfaction with life.  I can choose to be content and effective in my actions just as easily as I can choose sloth or to “Let life live me.”

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I’d like to take steps to make my life less cyclical, despite working in a cyclical industry. “What decisions can I make to effect the reaching of that goal?”, is something I need to ask myself every single day if it is to come into fruition. Change is an slowly evolving, every day event, not a one time thing.

What’s your secret to happiness?

Learning to LOVE both my wife and what I CHOSE to do for a living a little bit more every day. The secret is that there is NO ONE SECRET, but that it is different for each of us. But we can learn by observing and emulating others we meet who are sitting where we know we wish to be.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Working in my garden, which is, at it’s core, just another form of meditation. We need to step away from our everyday mundane lives to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. Playing the guitar is another. One helps me get away from my life completely. Another allows me to bring music INTO my life so I am living with a melody continually in the background.

What’s your biggest regret?

That I waited so long to learn to love and accept myself as I am. Too long to forgive my own, many mistakes.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

To let them touch the hot stove in my presence. So they can experiment with boundaries in a safe environment, while still tasting lessons of real world value. And forgiveness.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I am told I am a very patient man. And yet I don’t believe I ever have enough patience to truly allow myself to give the penultimate gifts to the world that I know lie within. I need more patience, especially with myself.

Aside from fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

That I learned the joy of giving very early on.  It has been both a net and tool to help me right myself in times of trouble. By helping others rise, I raise both them and myself, as well as new tools to apply to lifting my own life’s stature, if only in my own eyes.

When were you happiest?

When I learned I have at least some say in whether or not “the other shoe has to drop”. Most viscerally? When my neighbor invited me into her Greenhouse at six-years-old. I knew immediately I’d found my life’s purpose.

What ten words best describe you?

Complicated, deeply thought out, dark, light, silly, giving, empathetic, emphatic, uplifting, fair.

David Freeman is a Landscape Design & Build Contractor, and a freelance writer growing his life, marriage and gardens in the NYC/Tri-State area. You may contact him or simply view a slideshow of the work he loves to create at