Monday, January 11, 2016

Resolution. Reconnection. Reflection.

It’s nearly two weeks post-New Years and if you are like me and most Americans, your New Year’s resolutions have already gone out the window. I, myself, made four resolutions, knowing most of them would not make it. However, one resolution I decided to make was to get back into blogging. I started this blog this past summer to spread my passion and serve as an advocate for agriculture. Being a full time grad student got in the way this past semester, thus you haven’t heard much from me since the fall! I realized today was the day to get back in it, though, after I had the opportunity to reconnect with what got me into agriculture in the first place and that of course got me reflecting on my path to this point. 

One of the cornerstones of my growing up in Orange County, was the time I spent at Oakland Heights Farm, with David and Sally Lamb. I always tend to hesitate when people ask me how I got into agriculture in the first place—it isn’t exactly popular to say you were a “horse girl.” But today, I realized that being a “horse girl” was exactly what got me into agriculture. It was long hours bush-hogging fields on the back of a John Deere tractor, breaking up ice in frozen water buckets in the middle of winter, talking politics with David, nurturing a bull calf with crooked legs, galloping across century old farms in hot pursuit during a foxhunt, and putting up bale after bale of hay in the heat of August—that grew my passion for agriculture. See, because I was a horse girl, I learned from an old cowboy and a school teacher turned professional horsewoman to appreciate nature and the legacy of farmland, but also, how hard it is to keep a farm running in today’s world.

David--who always has insight,
 wit, and wisdom at the ready.
Today, as I rode in the cab of the tractor putting hay out with David, I realized how much I owe the time I’ve spent on the farm to where I am today and how much I’ve missed all that. The heated political lectures, the deep conversations in the Kubota, Sally’s laughter as I got thrown off just to be told to get right back on, the fresh air on top of the mountain, the sore muscles from working with an ornery mare just to have to muck stalls for twice as long after my ride—all of this and so much more formed my insight, compassion, integrity, work ethic, appreciation, and determination that has translated into so many areas of my life. And for that, I am grateful.

But today, as I was back in the saddle after 2 ½ years, I realized that I need to return to my roots here on the farm more often. Today was a powerful reset and one that I have needed after one of the hardest semesters of my life—both academically and personally. But as I look back, it’s lessons from the farm, and being a “horse girl” that got me through.

So I challenge you to remake your resolution for 2016. Get in touch with what makes your heart burst with excitement and passion. Embrace who you have been and who you are at your core. And if you are having a hard time figuring it out or just need a bit more motivation, reconnect with that which ignited your passion to begin with and those who have shaped you into the person you are today. Reflect on your past experiences and how they have prepared you for your next journey in life. You just might be surprised that the answer you are looking for may have been right there all along. 
Devon--the first gelding I ever really "clicked" with. Taught me about trust, determination, and unconditional love.