The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Don’t Get It.

I know. I went to Mexico to fill my emotional gas tank. Somehow the leak I had sprung was not fixed and here I am out of gas. May sound unique to some. Hear me out. Many years ago I recall my father driving over a bridge to fast which meant the car bottomed out which meant the gas tank landed firmly on the gravel which meant we sprung a leak. Based on that it really did not matter how much gas was in the tank because it was dripping out faster than any remedy we could find at the time.

You see, back in those days should you have a bar of soap handy the problem could be fixed. Small hole in the tank, rub it with soap and we are good to go. No idea how long it would last. But it worked. In later years I worked for a building mover, and you may not believe this, but we used soap to slide houses onto their foundation. Really. But it had to be Ivory.

Came back from our vacation feeling rejuvenated. Thought I could carry on. And as much as I remember and fondly recall our vacation it seems to have gone. Just like my tan. Seems like my emotional gas tank had a hole in it that could not be plugged. Nothing worked. Came back to reality to find that reality really sucks. Been involved with some medical appointments this week to ensure that life will carry on. (That was said with my tongue firmly in my cheek)

Today I did have a dental appointment set. All morning I was trying to figure out how to cancel that. For some reason dental appointments send the fear of God through me. Today was no different. As it turns out the dentist had a family situation to deal with which left me the option of “woo hoo”, no needles, I AM OUTTA HERE.

Gave me the opportunity to have coffee/lunch with my daughter. After all she would have been the assistant in whatever pain needed to be dealt with today. And if there is no pain they do find a way to create pain. Sorry. There is my cynical part coming out again. Happens occasionally.

She noticed that my mood was off. And it has been. But today was worse. Right from when I got up this morning I noticed a news story developing that tore at my very being. Four kids dead. Three saved. It does not matter which way you slice or dice this story. It is unfathomable. Hard to grasp. How could anyone deal with such a tragedy?

So I don’t get it. Life does throw us curve balls. Most of them I do gain an understanding for. Others not so much. How anyone could come to grips with four kids succumbing in this horrific event is beyond me. How anyone can even try to comprehend what the parents have and will be going through in this tragedy can and will not ever be understood.

As suggested last week a story such as this should provide encouragement to someone like me who really has no problems except for a screwed up brain. And perhaps it will. May take some time. (Just read that within two years people will be able to get head transplants. For a mere 13 million dollars. Perhaps I need to start buying lottery tickets.) And we know that come tomorrow a different headline, someone else’s story, or a stubbed toe will become the flavor of the day. I will get past this. The family coming to grips with losing four siblings will deal with this for years to come. Here is wishing them well. Here is wishing them a good one.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Perception. A word that has stuck with me for some time. That is what it is about. How we perceive things. For years I used a quote as follows; “we do not see things as they are, we see things as we are”. Even had a follower post a picture on Facebook with that quote. Often wondered where it came from. Even Google failed me. Then as I was going through some training material from years ago I found the source. Anais Nin provided us with those words of wisdom. Here I thought I could take credit for it.

I have been consumed of late. Consumed with what I had perceived as overwhelming problems. Consumed by the fact that life had dealt me bad cards. Not sure how I could overcome. I was fixated by certain issues and in that fixation found myself minimizing other people’s challenges. Chatted with a friend that is frustrated, read a book written by a colleague’s wife, read other true life stories. Got a better handle of what my reality really was and is.

I spoke to a group of people a few years ago. Spoke of the various challenges that farmers face. Spoke of the stress that accompanies all of us. One participant came to me after and shared what his major stressors consisted of. At the same time he said that was nothing compared to the devastation in Haiti. They had just experienced a devastating earthquake.

I concurred with him. I understood where he was coming from. At the same time I was not about to minimize his own issues. You see, all of us face challenges. Many of us feel that what we are experiencing is as much as we can bear. Then we talk to others who downplay our anxieties because theirs are much worse. And they may very well be. But the way it stands, the way I feel, is how I determine my situation, gauge my stress. I have not walked in the other’s shoes. The only thing I know is that I am down and would like that to change.

Sometimes it becomes a matter of interpretation. Often times it becomes a matter of how we deal with our challenges. Nobody said it would be easy. Nobody said life would come without challenges. Although I often wonder why good people struggle and bad people seem to succeed. Sorry. Just being judgemental for a minute. I feel better.

As I alluded to earlier I have been consumed. Lost in my own world where nothing made sense. Lost sight of reality. Wallowing in a pool of self-pity. Wondering why, why could my life not be what I want it to be?

Then, thanks to a friend, I came to the realization that my life was good. I have so many things to be thankful for. Perhaps not the ones I would pick, at this moment, but many nonetheless. I understood that I had been fixated on the negative. I had lost sight. Blinders were firmly affixed to my outlook.

I came to a better understanding that my perception was off. I had lost sight. I needed to adapt and understand that life was good. Could it be better? Absolutely. Could it be worse? Without question. At the end of the day it is what it is. And what I do with what I have is all that matters. And, quite frankly, I really do not want to lose what I have.

Billy Graham said “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; and when character is lost, all is lost”. So I am going to work on getting my character back, then my mental health, (or the other way around) and, if there is time left, will work on my wealth. Make it a good one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

As The World Turns

I keep saying I don’t watch news anymore. And I don’t. But I will admit that I do peek at headiness every morning. Just curious. But it doesn’t take long to understand why I don’t watch news. Generally speaking news is depressing. Perhaps it is as Mart Twain said; “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed”.

And then I see a headline about being 3 minutes to doomsday. What is up with that? And when I go to that site they require my email address? Really? I answered a call this week and usually when you have a marketing call or a call for a survey there is a hesitation before the other party comes on line. Gives me a chance to hang up. Did not happen this time. Had an instant response. Wanting to tell me I had won 2.5 million dollars. It caught my attention. Don’t get me wrong. I knew it was a hoax but I felt like pursuing it anyway. In retrospect I should have been kind to the guy. Let him know that ship has sailed. I mean really. That scam has been in the news.

However, enough about the news. It is time to fill my emotional gas tank. We are headed south. Looking forward to having the sun bake my aching body. Time to relax. And especially disconnect. No interruptions. Just relaxation and fun with friends.

But I seem anxious about this. Seem to have this need to ensure that should we not make it back our kids would have some clue as to our affairs. Then I sit back and look at my office and realize it is hopeless to even begin sorting out this mess. Then again I suppose if it comes to that I won’t care.

So where is this anxiety coming from? Perhaps it is my age. More aware. Then again it may be that when I should watch news I watch reality shows. Like Mayday. Or Why Do Planes Crash. Then again when I did read the headlines this week I saw a video of a plane cartwheeling over a bridge in Tapei. That looked scary. Makes me wonder why I would want to fly anywhere. Then I think back to something I saw some years ago. If memory serves me right the comment was that there are more people killed on an annual basis by being kicked in the head by goats then people dying in plane crashes. Fact or fiction? Doesn’t matter. Stay away from goats. And goat cheese. Because it just really isn’t that good.

So here I go. Have John Denver’s song in my mind. 'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again.’ Really has nothing to do with my trip. For a number of reasons. Number one is that this is not a love ballad for me, although my wife and I will enjoy this together. Number two, I will be back again.

I have no choice. Running away and staying away are not feasible options as tempting as that may be. And as we all know escaping does not necessarily take care of issues, if there are issues. So I will fill my gas tank and hopefully be back with enthusiasm to carry on with a host of new opportunities. And if luck is with me the snow will be gone and the golf course close to opening up for the summer when I get back. Not likely. But I can dream. Make it a good one.