I’ve been wanting to deeply reflect on this past year and this past season for a while now. Since the farming season ended, I’ve been journaling most mornings, but internally knowing that I needed to take a lot more dedicated time to unpack this totally crazy year.
So here we go. Grab a cup of coffee and read on my friends.
Because 2018 was hard in a way I’ve never quite experienced before; hard in a way that the past years at the farm haven’t been. 2017 and the four years prior were challenging because we were learning. We were diving head first into a life and a dream that we didn’t have the skills to match. We had to learn on the job and we had to learn fast because our income depended on it. We made messes. We screwed up. We lost ourselves and then found ourselves again. We created idiotic systems then slightly better ones. We gave the farm every ounce of ourselves that we had but it wasn’t quite enough because we just hadn’t learned quite enough to be truly successful yet. We hadn’t learned enough to execute on the high level we desired.
Our life since we started our farm has never been easy, but it has been hard in a way that we accepted because we knew we were growing in our profession learning to both grow and make better business decisions.
2018 wasn’t hard like that. We came into 2018 with confidence and knowledge. After five years of pushing and struggling, we really knew what we needed and what we wanted, and we dove in with intelligence. We invested in ourselves in big ways. We took out a massive loan for a tractor, a building, a second greenhouse, and some hand tools that would up our weeding game considerably. We expanded our well. We outsourced most of our deliveries. We scaled up our labor. We made intentional, calculated, intelligent decisions I am still so incredibly proud of.
But the weather didn’t care. It didn’t care one bit. It broke us and then it broke us again. It made construction of our new shed impossible and the usage of our new expensive tools less effective. It drained our bank account and drove us to tears. It was a year I will never forget and a year truly I can’t believe we made it through.
In other words, it was a year that taught me how much resilience, intuition, persistence and strength is possible when moving in the direction of your dreams. And what it feels like to know you are moving in the direction of your dreams. And how beautiful and safe that feels even when faced with real hardship.
It was the year I became fearless in a lot of ways because even as our bodies grew weak and the crops failed around us, I wasn’t worried. Stressed, sure. Exhausted, absolutely. But I somehow knew in my heart with absolute certainty that this was still our path. I’ve never known that before. I usually want to give up when faced with so much struggle.
So what’s next for us? Well you saw my last post. We’re jumping in further.
And I used to worry that if I continued farming when the odds were stacked against me I’d be a disappointment. I scoffed at farmers who made such stupid decisions to keep farming when the signs were so clearly telling them to stop.
But now I get it. Life isn’t all about smart decisions and calculated risk. I mean it can be, but it’s also about living a life that feels right. That makes you feel whole and purposeful and in alignment with who you want to be.
And you guys, that’s just the beginning of what 2018 taught me. That’s just the farm stuff.
2018 was a year of injury and of healing. A year of feeling totally betrayed by my body. Because before my long-term, possibly chronic knee pain had subsided (a reality that had tore my meditation and main fitness regimen away from me), I was plagued by a hip injury and deep nerve pain for the first three months of our growing season. I was limited in my movement during the toughest June of our lives. I had to ask for help and lean hard on other people because we had no other option.
Through pain, I discovered that there was a beauty born out of breaking down walls. And that gratitude was found in the realization that we all are being betrayed by something (our bodies, our minds, our society) but life is beautiful anyways. Gratitude isn’t the struggle. It’s the joy and wonder you find in what still remains possible. I may never run a marathon but I am immensely grateful that I can still get out on trails and that I can run, slowly and carefully, every week.
It was also another year that we didn’t get pregnant. It was another year where we found no real answers in our fertility journey because we were/are terrified to put any significant amount of money towards something that is free and joyous for so many others. I’m still unpacking this one to be sure. And though I’m deeply sad not to have a child just yet, I’m also completely happy for all my friends who are starting their own families and totally okay with the fact that we don’t have a plan.
It was a hard year on my body, but a truly perfect year in my heart. I nurtured relationships more deeply. I learned compassion and patience. I fell in love with my husband, my employees, my friends, and my family again and again and again. I let people surprise me. I listened. I laughed. Oh my gosh did I laugh a lot in 2018. I collaborated. I held space. I confronted conflicts and uncomfortable situations. I acted like an ass. I apologized. We all got over it.
I tried to take life a little less seriously. I tried to celebrate the people I love– including myself. I played games. I read more. I drank wine. I lit candles. I cooked in a way that felt freeing. I brought journaling, mediation and deep self work into my life gently without judgment and without pressure.
I began the beautiful journey of self acceptance, which is honestly, exactly what I wanted my 30th year of life to be about. I’ve spent far too many years not loving myself and I’m over the limitations that puts on a person. And because of that self love, I did loads of things that scared me. I pushed myself. I tried new things. I stopped fearing failure. I stopped even considering mistakes failures.
It was a deep and thoughtful year. An intentional year. A challenging year. A silly year. A year of so many lessons. A year of contradictions. A year of pain and of laughter. A year of not enough sun and way too much rain. A year of mud. A year of heartache and resilience. A year of pure joy and truth.
I hope your 2018 was just as perfect in all of its flawed glory. I hope you took what life threw at you, and are stronger and better for it. If not, don’t worry. We’ve got the rest of our lives to move forward.
Happy end of one season and entrance to this next one. I for one can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.
All my happy, sappy, end of year love to you all,