The Recovering Farmer

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dreams Never Die. . .

At least that is what the song says. Beautiful song I might add. “Some men dream of fame, and some of fortune. Some men dream about time gone by.” Isn’t that the truth? I particularly dream of times gone by. I still smile when I think about the quote,” it's very strange when the life you never had flashes before your eyes”. Let me explain.

I attended a retirement bash for my wife’s co-worker recently. As retirement parties go, it was okay. Lots of kind words. Happiness. All that goes along with someone that has dedicated their life to a job. Stuck with it. Persevered. As I was sitting there it hit me. This person that was retiring was someone I had gone to school with. We were the same age. Obviously I reflected on my life. It was kind of depressing. I knew I was a long way from retirement. I am at the age where I know others that are getting close to retirement. They are counting the days. The only chance I have is to win the lottery. But, I realize, the chances of that are slim as I seldom buy a ticket. There I go, dreaming about “fortune”.

I have often said, facetiously, that I blew my retirement in the nineties. Hey, I had a lot of fun doing it. Back then, of course, I was farming. Life was great. I had the opportunity to travel the world through my association with a commodity group. I had hired help. I was my own boss. Unfortunately I should have dedicated more time to the farm. Although as a hog producer, perhaps the writing was on the wall. I try not to look back. I am moving on. After all I am a recovering farmer. I have other opportunities. I enjoy my work. The only reality is that freedom 55 will not apply to me.

In my work with farm debt mediation I meet many people who have given their life to their farm. Many people whose dreams have died. They too, have persevered. They have given their all. Only to find out it is for naught. There are families who have lost relationships due to the stress of farming. Interesting how financial stress wreaks havoc with relationships. There are many who have lost their homes. Have lost farms that have been passed down from previous generations. Many families, farm or non-farm, struggle on a daily basis to make things work. Talking earlier this week to a long-time friend and farmer he suggested to me that his “get up and go had got up and left”. A sentiment shared by many. It becomes exhausting.

However, dreaming can be a good thing. The key is to dream about positive things. I meet regularly with a couple that lost their farm in the late eighties. They too had dreams. In our discussions we talk about changing our thought pattern from the negative to the positive. In spite of the ease with which negative thoughts arrive, in spite of the ruts of rumination and self-pity that we slip into, it is interesting to note how one’s mood, temperament and general health improve when we focus on positives. I am reminded of the gentleman, who on his death bed, stated that he had had many problems in life, most of which never happened. There are many positives that we can draw on from the past. It is even more important to keep dreaming about the future. As the song says, “cause without dreams inside us, yeah, without dreams how would we all get by”. Make it a good one.

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