Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, May 13, 2016

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

I love this question.... what would you do if you weren't afraid? What's the first thing that pops into your mind?

My Zander is entirely fearless. His boldness is the best thing about him.

Would you change your job? Change your mind? Get rid of everything you own and set off on a cross country walk? Get out of a relationship? Get into a relationship? Get out of a rut? Get into a pattern? Find yourself? Lose yourself?

Are you just meeting other people's expectations or are you living up to your own?

I first heard this question from Oprah a loooong time ago. I remember the first thing that popped into my mind was to change my life. Dramatically.

So I did.

I was living my "should" life back then. Everything I was doing was because I should....  but it really wasn't what I wanted to do. What I wanted was to wake up every day in a life where I didn't need a vacation.

I remember driving to work with someone in my very early twenties and I asked, "You mean I have to do this every day?..... This is stupid." I couldn't understand why the only "real" option was to work for someone else. It just felt stupid.

I kept having that same thought even when I was considered successful.... walking fast thru the Denver airport with my computer in my backpack, thinking about my work goals, and worrying about my stock options.

I had that thought when I had an office in a stunning high rise with a sweeping view of the water, waiting for my real estate agent to call me, while I looked over into pricey neighborhood where I was about to close on My Very Expensive House.

I had that thought when I was on the plane to Paris and my seatmate woke me up to show me we were over the very cold expanse and the Northern Lights were shining in waves across the ice.

This is stupid.

I couldn't understand why I couldn't have a life where I didn't need to have a vacation to by happy. Why couldn't every day feel like this?

I stood by and watched both my parents die from cancers that were not immediately related to their lifestyle. It was random and unnecessary. It was cruel and incredible unfair. The only good thing that happened was that I had no one left to answer to and no one who set any "shoulds."

To be fair, both of them would be laughing hilariously at my life right now. I'm sure neither of them would believe that I walked away from a very comfortable life to move out here and butcher pigz in my yard. Both of them would be stunned for different reasons.

But both of them would be very very glad that I finally ended up with The Big Man. Both of them loved him very much and were stupefied that we broke up in college and also in our 20's. Both would be extremely glad that he finally married me so I couldn't get away. Neither of them would dream that this would be our life now.

We have a funny little life. Every once in a while we start laughing about it. A lot of people ask us about how we did it. We usually just shrug and say that it was because of the age old recipe for success... where preparation meet opportunity. I can't figure out if we are incredibly brave or remarkably foolish.

I was trying to explain this to some folks and they mostly just stood wide-eyed looking at me. Most people ask me how I knew for sure this would work?

I didn't.

I didn't have charts or graphs or spreadsheets or even a vision statement. 

I wasn't entirely without a plan but the problem was that the economy crashed just when we were getting started. If you weren't caught up in all of that then you don't know how bad it was. It was a lot worse for some other people. I know folks who lost their homes, their careers, their families. We just lost the security of having at least one pretty good job. But what we gained was the opportunity to build this life - our life together. No one was going to help us. In fact, it felt like a lot of people were working against us. But we made it work. So my plan didn't even matter. It was useless once everything went bad.

I think it is less about planning and really comes down to how much confidence do you have that you can make it work. How do you handle adversity? When the chips are down are you ready to take action? Are you willing to do what needs to be done? Do you fight the problem or fight each other?

How do you handle fear?

I'm really only afraid of three things - bears, sharks, and the house burning down. OK.. technically four...I'm afraid of catfish... but come on, that is just common sense.

I watch people gripped with fear and it doesn't make sense to me. Mostly they are afraid of a thought. Or someone else's thought - which makes even less sense to me.

I am not afraid failure, criticism, expectations, judgement, or ridicule... and least of all someone else's thoughts about me.

I think I have the good kind of courage... not the 'here hold my beer and watch this' kind of courage... but more like the confidence to figure out what is the worst thing that can happen and then the expectation that we can overcome that "worst thing."

We are doing a lot of thinking right now.. What about you? What would you do if you weren't afraid? Why aren't you doing that? What is holding you back?

Happy Friday, everyone!  Lots of thinking going on here. What about you?


Anonymous said...

You are at it again; you keep poking me about a change in life. ;-) Gotta go, I need to go make a plan...


Cottontailfarm said...

Your post made me stop short and think… that for the first time in my life I don’t have an answer for this. Because what my answer to this would have always been - what I’m doing now. I’ve never been happy in the whole system of working for the system and when I had my son last summer I left my secure job with retirement and lots of vacation time in order to be a homemaker. We didn’t have a plan, a budget, nothing. We just knew that it would be the right thing for our family. Our quality of life has increased tremendously. I spend all day with my son, bake, cook, raise food, manage my household and now I get to do all of those things I love all of the time. I’m also just starting to dabble in selling vintage fabrics and would like to figure out the dang Blogger.
P.S., I lost my mother to ovarian cancer last year and you have my deepest, deepest sympathies. Cancer is an effin’ horrible, horrible thing.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

thanks KJ! and yep - you can do it!

CTF.... I'm so sorry for the loss of your mom. The first year is absolutely horrible with out a mother. But I'm so glad for you that you are enjoying your life! And yep, can totally understand the increased quality of life. It's kind of hard to explain to people - not working can be even more fulfilling. Great work on your vintage fabrics - let me know how it goes?

Vera said...

I have never had a plan in life, and have always followed what the Universe gives to me as my next step, and this attitude about not controlling where my life leads has led me here to France. We do not have any idea about how we can keep ourselves afloat financially but trust that we will have enough to live on. One thing, though, is that we are never going back to the lifestyle we had in England.
As for 'what would you do if you weren't afraid'.........we would not change anything, but I do need to stay focussed with my writing, my main gripe being that I don't know where to start. I am not afraid of writing. I am afraid of being successful at it!

buddeshepherd said...

So it is only fear that keeps me to my three fingers of Knob Creek and two album sides of Tom T. Hall per evening? I could realize my dream of sloth and indolence and become a wastrel. Yes!!!! No longer will I be a reluctant farmer turned groundskeeper. I will live the rest of my life in a slight alcoholic daze surrounded by orphaned technologies and dreams of a romantic past that never was. I will dare to realize my dreams! Happiness awaits. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Oooh and doughnuts, I will live on doughnuts, bourbon, and bacon.
Or did I misunderstand your post?

David said...

A really great - and to me complicated question....

Fear of what?

Starving? "failure?" Death? The unknown? Running out of time?

Part of what keeps me doing what I do is the sense of obligation I have to my children, Being able to provide health insurance until they are 26 keeps me locked in until 2019/2020 at the earliest. After that? the house is paid, I have (as far as I know) good health.

If there was no fear (and enough money), I'd buy a parcel, build a small very efficient yet cool modern house, have a BIG garden , an orchard, perennial food sources, raise chickens, maybe a few ducks, perhaps a pig or two a year, and tell the world to F-Off.

While I smile.

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