In the late fall of 2013 I sold all the livestock, packed my meager belongings, and left the farming life behind. It was an ugly good-bye brought on by betrayal, anger, and abuse. It was particularly horrific because my hot mess of a failed marriage also ripped away my lifestyle and long-term goals. I was adrift. My dreams, plans, and aspirations for the farm were shattered. Oh sure, he gave me right of first refusal, but one girl, no matter how bad-ass, just couldn’t make it happen on her own.
I struggled for a couple of years dealing with that loss. Perhaps more than I let on. Agriculture had become my identity, a communion between the natural world and self. I had poured so much of myself into the business, the lifestyle, the ideal, that there was nothing else. I tried filling the hole with tiny little gardens in rental spaces but it wasn’t the same as being completely immersed in the cycles of life. I don’t have the words (or time) to describe the innumerable moments of magic that life afforded.
Flash forward – I worked through it. I reinvented. I rediscovered. I redefined. And it was the best thing I could have done for myself. (Go reread that sentence; it’s an important truth.) This now is where I was meant to be. This is a much better self. A happier self. I wouldn’t go back.
And yet, today I got sucker punched by nostalgia when I opened an e-mail from a random stranger looking to buy chickens. I find it astounding how two innocuous sentences can open a floodgate of profoundly complicated feelings. It reminds me that no matter how you grow and change, your past is part of you.
The destination is not the whole – the journey shapes us.