Formerly known as catastrophic
Ten years ago I would have shaken my fist to the sky and despaired. I would have questioned all the choices that led me to this moment and wondered how I was to go on. Today, however, barely warranted a shoulder shrug and, perhaps, a slight eye roll.
Some might call this resilience, and perhaps it is. I call it being old (er). I have to add the “er” lest my elders anger to the implication that I am as wise as they are. That is not, in fact, what I claim today. Today, I am simply much older and more experienced than I was ten years ago. This is no longer my first rodeo, so to speak. It’s no longer the first dreadful weather event. It’s not even the first time this particular structure was damaged. And still here we are farming.
You know, I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past several years “working on myself.” It’s funny how I grew into that. In my youth, I was ever the sensitive soul, quick to anger or despair. I was, in the words of the father of positive psychology Martin Seligman, a “catastrophizer.” Even though I knew my sensitivity was a character flaw, it never occurred to me that I could change it. Isn’t that strange? George Bernard Shaw declared “youth is wasted on the young.” Never was a truer statement made, I don’t think.
But the last several years have taught me things that my elders had been telling me with blue faces, but that I had, for some strange yet inevitable reason, to come by on my own. Things like: worrying or despairing over something doesn’t influence said thing at all; life will go on; and everything will be okay. Twenty years of farming has taught me that no matter what mother nature throws at us (this is NOT a challenge, mother nature), we’ll probably still be here farming. Age has taught me that if not, it will still all probably be okay.
These lessons, and the change in me that they instilled, has opened me up to a joy I never fathomed as a youth. My elders, in all their wisdom, never quite conveyed the delight of middle age. I suppose I should keep this surprise to myself as well. For perhaps surprise is the great enhancer of the very joy of which I’m confessing. Ah well, too late, the cat’s out of the bag. The young won’t listen anyway.
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