Sometimes I forget what this blog is about. I write my experiences and what we’re doing on the farm. I write about our efforts to be more self-sufficient. And write about farming. The real reason I keep this blog and write on it is to share my thoughts on pursuing dreams.
I generally don’t share stuff like this, but today I feel like it. In the hours I spent behind a rototiller today, I thought a lot about what I would write, and I felt I needed to share reality. So much of what is online or what we share with others is filtered to be what others want to hear. I wanted to post on what really is.
A little over three years ago, I dropped out of a PhD program. I had completed all but my dissertation and the final project was not going the way I wanted it to. I wasn’t getting the experiences I wanted and I had really developed a distaste for research. … All those things are true, and when people ask me why I didn’t complete my PhD, that is usually what I say. In reality, I was stressed out. I was depressed and I didn’t like the way life was going. My depression influenced the work I was doing at school, it took from my family life and it effected me physically. I was completely miserable and I was miserable to be around. I don’t completely know why this was; there were a lot of good things going on in my life, but I was depressed and for the sake of all around me, something needed to change. So I quit. I dropped out of school and took a job on the other side of the country.
When we arrived in Kentucky, we had some great dreams of buying some land outside of town and having a huge garden. I always get torn on this topic because I think suburban sprawl is terrible, so I believe firmly that if I am going to live outside of town, I need to produce something for others. So we wanted to do a little farm. We looked at a lot of properties, but we eventually settled on a house in town. It was a nice house and treated us well. We even had a big garden along with chickens at this house. I enjoyed my job. I worked at a YMCA and I really believe in what the Y is trying to do. It seemed like everything should have been great, but I again entered into depression. I even went and saw someone about it. He was no help whatsoever, but I knew I was miserable. Again, the situation wasn’t bad. In principle, I really liked what I was doing. I worked with wonderful people. My family has always been amazing. But I was depressed and miserable. I dreaded going to work and once there I had a hard time leaving. I wasn’t able to do the things that I really wanted to do with my time and my job had me stressed out and depressed. I’m guessing that if you were to ask those I worked with, they didn’t notice because I am really good at faking being happy. My fake happiness mixed with my underlying depression made me feel like an imposter. I wasn’t being authentic to myself or others. I was living a life that I didn’t want to be a part of. Simultaneously, there were some family things that happened that attracted us back home. So I quit. We sold most everything we owned and moved into a 30′ travel trailer to be closer to home.
We spent the better part of a year living in my sister-in-law’s front yard as I looked for a job. Eventually I found a part time job at a community college. It doesn’t pay as much as the job I had in Kentucky, but it has benefits. When I was first offered this job, I actually turned it down because I didn’t think it would support my family. Then, we found a place to intern on a farm (which provided a place to hook up our travel trailer and live for free) and do something I had always wanted to do.
The job has turned out to be fantastic. I get to work with wonderful students and help them pursue their dreams or figure out what they want to do with their lives. I love that involvement in the lives of real people. I also get to teach about health, well-being and how to be a fitness trainer. I’m passionate about what I’m teaching and I am excited to go in and teach. Not only am I excited to teach every day (…3x per week), but I’m excited for the opportunity to teach the classes again and improve them. While I love what I’m doing at the community college, I believe that one of the best parts of the job is that it is part time. I have classes that I teach and then I’m done. I do a lot of preparation on my own time, but it is not like the Y where the work was never done. I prepare for my classes and then I teach them and give grades and there is nothing else for me to do.
While we were interning at the farm, we were also looking for a place of our own to start a farm. We found the perfect spot and we’re starting. That is what I generally blog about; my experiences starting a farm. In reality this blog isn’t about starting a farm, it’s about quitting. I look around me and see so many people who obviously hate what they’re doing with their lives. And I see many others who seem to be trying to hide how much they really hate what they’re doing day in and day out. This blog is about quitting. Quit doing what is making you miserable and find what brings you peace in your life. Pursue your dreams.
That farm that we never really found in Kentucky, we found it here. After I left Kentucky my mother gave me some good advice; she said, “Don’t settle” (I wonder if she reads my blog and would see this…). It is as simple as that. You only have one life to live, why would you choose to spend it doing something you’re not passionate about? Quit doing what you don’t like and go pursue your passions. I know there are a lot of reasons not to. I know all of the excuses. Having given up a lot to pursue what I’m passionate about, I can say that it’s worth it. I’m happier than I have ever been. I don’t think I would be this happy teaching college. I don’t think I would be this happy as a farmer. I have created for myself (or it fell in my lap), the perfect situation where I look forward to the new challenges in everything that I do. I really love everything about what I’m doing now.
Sorry, I feel like I just started bragging about my life. That was not my goal. My goal was to say that there are some things in life worth quitting. My goal was to say that life is too short to not pursue your dreams and make your life into what you want it to be. Get over the excuses and start taking steps toward what you really want to be doing.