The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again

Many years ago, almost too many to count, I was involved with the hog industry. As chairman (chairperson if you will) we were in significant negotiations with the government to preserve the single desk selling system. For the sake of space and time I will not delve into a description of what single desk selling is. Although there are many who still maintain that that was the beginning of the end for the industry. I am not involved in the industry anymore so why go there.

Actually, perhaps, I still am involved. I have reoccurring dreams about my farm. I dream that the feed has run out and no one took note and did something about it. I dream that the bank is hounding me for money and so I ship pigs that are not heavy enough to garner premiums. I dream that the feed company is delivering feed and they need money from me before they can unload. So they have to call my mother. I dream that I come in the barn and pigs have escaped their pens and are running loose and wreaking havoc. I dream that the person emptying my manure storage has pumped it on neighboring yards and has created floods in their homes. With hog manure.

Jeez, I think I need therapy. The good news is, I suppose, that earlier this year when I was traveling with a sleep expert he informed me that if I can remember dreams I am not depressed. Really? These dreams make me depressed. Like I said. I need therapy.

Getting back to the single desk selling debacle. At the time a news reporter wrote an article and proclaimed, as only he could, that no one could ever put Humpty Dumpty together again. Many took exception to that. Producers were losing something that the majority felt would jeopardize the industry. Perhaps it did. I am not about to discuss that. Remember? I am not involved in the industry. Except when I sleep. Maybe that doesn’t count.

All of us experience life changes. Changes we had not expected. Changes we fight to accept. Changes that, quite literally, change us. I deal with farmers whose dreams have been shattered. I deal with accident victims whose lives have been irrevocably changed. I deal with people whose relationships are deteriorating. People face health challenges that are life changing. None of these events foreseen. None that were asked for.

During and after these crises people wonder how they can ever achieve normalcy in their lives again. Famers wonder whether there is life after farming. Victims of accidents just want to get back to how they were. People with health issues just want a cure. Want to get better. Get back to the health they had before. Many struggle to make relationships better. With spouses, partners, kids. We want to put Humpty Dumpty together again. That was our life. That felt good. That was normal.

But things change and so do we. So many life changing events are completely out of our control. How we deal with them becomes the challenge. Quite often the first step is to understand that we will never put Humpty Dumpty together again. Perhaps the pieces are too small. Perhaps there are some missing. Perhaps we would be better off not trying. Work on building something new. Something better. I know it can work. I have been there. There is hope. There is relief. I know I will never put Humpty Dumpty together again. And based on my dreams I don’t think I want to. Work on something new. Perhaps not an egg this go around. They seem somewhat fragile. Building something better. Make life changes before life changes. Make it a good one.

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