Like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, my garden beckons with the promise that this is the year when everything will be splendid, when order will triumph over chaos, when my powers of cultivation will be wondrous to behold.

This time will be different: The garden will erupt with exquisite fruits and vegetables. The weeds will be tamed, the strangler vines beaten back, the grubs routed. I’m the smartest life form on this propery and by gum I shall rule with an iron fist. And hoe. And stiff rake. And that most useful tool known as Roundup. There will be no question as to who is master of all he surveys across this vast quarter-acre of suburban real estate.

And yet experience is, as ever, the buzzkill of life, the thing that poisons the dream.

Experience tells us that, two or three moons hence, the once-grand ambitions of the gardener will have been reduced to a feeble hope for a couple of decent tomatoes.

But you have to try. Once more into the breach! It may not be a rational investment of time and energy, but it’s an homage to tradition, to the ancestors who wrung an existence from the soil (except for the ones who, you know, stole pigs or whatever).

We all have subconscious balance sheets. We have a sense of net worth, of the balance between debt and assets. And the future is an asset, ideally: A future in which we apply our human capital to some productive activity, and harvest the result. We seek whatever edge we can get, and, looking at my yard, I see excellent dirt and, quite often, abundant sunshine. Photosynthesis is something I can exploit.

I’m getting older but the plants are young and vibrant. I can leverage natural processes and in about 70 days be a richer man.

Yeah. This year’s gonna be different, just watch.