At the end of last year I left my job, moved toward home and started over. Many people think that I’m nuts. They think that I did not make the prudent choice being a husband and father of four. Maybe they are right.
I realize that I have a family to support, food to buy and warmth to provide. I understand that I have responsibility to the people that rely on me. I am completely aware that it takes money to provide most of those things to my family. But there is so much more to the story.
I often feel that people think I have failed or that I am not as successful as I should (or could) be. Had I stayed with my old job, I could have moved up, made more money and been more successful. Had I finished my degree I could have had a more prestigious job, made more money and been more successful. Had I gone to medical school I could have been a respected doctor and made more money and been more successful. Sure, any one of those statements may be true, but it all depends on your definition of success.
I think that most people define success in terms of influence in the community and accumulation of stuff. What if I define success as experiencing life and helping my children to experience life? What if my ultimate goal is to live according to my ideals rather than someone else’s? I sometimes feel like I’m disappointing those around me by seeking my own definition of success rather than the definition placed on it by society.
On that note, I just wanted to say that I am feeling more successful now than I have at any other point in my life. I may not have an income (although I will have a small income starting next month), but I am working harder than I ever have in exchange for room and board. I may not have a prestigious job, but for the first time in a long time, I am really happy.
I think this whole happiness thing is interesting. Before moving out here, I had a good job. I generally enjoyed going to work and I had no real complaints (except that it was way too far from family). Now I live in a trailer with my family and work long hours doing manual labor on a farm. And I don’t get paid for it. Every day I am excited to wake up and get going. Every day I get to spend time working with my kids or wife. Every day I am a disappointed that I didn’t have more time to write down the stuff that I learned or do more research on the internet.
I absolutely love what I am doing and I love the way I am around my children. I have been more patient and had more time to spend with each one of my kids individually. I feel like I am a better person and I feel like this is a situation that will allow my children to thrive. I keep thinking that I would love to have a farm of my own so that I can feel this way every day.
I also know that if I become a farmer, I will essentially be throwing away my education. I will never make a lot of money and I will never be the highly respected guy in town. And I believe that becoming a farmer would make me the most successful person I know.
Now I’m off to research the internet to figure out how to do it…