So I want to be a farmer, huh?
It’s funny the way people respond to your dreams. “Funny” in both senses of the word: humorous and often rather peculiar. Since my resignation as the Director of my organization was announced, I’ve received so many responses of support, appreciation and friendship. It’s been overwhelming and humbling.
But along with those accolades come the inevitable questions: “So what are you going to do?” “Where will you be working?” People just assume that I’m taking a similar role at another organization – but then I lay it on the line and tell them what I’m doing and where I’m going.
I recently had such a conversation with a long-time member of OWAA, and in his tone of voice I could hear the “Are you out of your cotton-pickin’ mind?” that was ripping through his thoughts. He mentioned that this was probably the first time he’d ever heard of anyone leaving a good professional career to head back to the farm. While I understand that I’m running away from what, in comparison, might be considered an easy life, and running toward a much more difficult one, I can’t help but know that I’m making the right decision. Our conversation ended with his well wishes, and hopes that I would keep in touch. He said that if this was what was in my heart, then he could hope for nothing more than for me to achieve my dreams. But I could also tell that he didn’t quite understand…
Sure, I’m in the minority these days. Most people strive to get to the top of the ladder. They reach for that bigger paycheck. They want for the respect that being the top dog brings. And I did too. Once upon a time; not so long ago. But I know for a fact that I’m also not the only person who’s made the decision, once getting to the top and surveying the view, to simplify my world and return to a way of life that boasts cracked hands, dirty fingernails, long days, sunburned arms and sore muscles. Sometimes what you think you want turns out to be the exact opposite of what your heart longs for. As the old adage goes: Be careful of what you wish for… At one time I wanted nothing more than to be the executive director of a nonprofit. Little did I know that it was a dream that stood in stark contrast to what was really in my heart.
My parents taught my sister and me well. They taught us that we can do anything in this world that we want. But they also taught us that it would have to be worked for.
They left the comfort of the city and suburbs to reach for this same exact goal when they weren’t much younger than I am now. In fact, I believe my Dad was about 40 when they made the move. They left behind good jobs, a more stable economy, and a comfortable house to trek out into the unknown. To break the earth, grow their food and learn to live life by their own rules. Is it any wonder I have the wanderlust and rural longings I have? It’s no wonder to me… I know exactly where it came from. And it’s truly the best gift I could ever have been given. The gift of knowing I can follow my dreams – whether those dreams take me to the temples of India, to the bustling neighborhoods of Chicago, to the mountains of Montana, or to the pastures and hills of a farm in central Wisconsin.
I don’t expect that many people will understand why I’m taking this leap of faith. Some will. Some do. And some just don’t get it at all. But that’s fine with me. People live according to the song that sings in their own hearts. In the words of Rasa Devi “Life is right in any case.”
This is my dance. And this song is for me.