Experience is remodeling us every moment,
and our mental reaction on any given thing
is really a resultant of our experience
of the whole world up to that date.
While reading a paper the other day I read that the average farmer in Canada is 55 years old, I remember reading the exact same information six years ago and thinking that I was one of those average farmers and I wondered if we would have to be farming forever.
Do not get me wrong there is no other job in the world I would rather do for many reasons the main one being that I am outdoors all the time and physically active which works well for a high energy girl like myself. Every day is different so there is never any boredom meaning none of those stuck in a rut moments like a 9 to 5 job can bring. My hours are flexible for the most part and there is no time card to be punched and I am my own boss even though my cows may disagree with that statement as they probably think they are. As I age I can see signs of how time has been taking its toll and I do wonder how long this job will last. I seem to be slowing down while our cattle and our machinery seem to be speeding up. I am not sure if that is a good thing. My body is telling me one thing while my mind the other.
Memories of long ago and my working in a factory every day, walking into a warehouse sliding a time card into the machine to get stamped then pulling it out and placing it in my slot and I can still to this day remember that profound sense of suffocation I felt while closed up in there. The money was good and the hours were very predictable but I was miserable and was always thinking about that last hour and sliding that time card into the machine and punching out and being set free. I lasted eight months. This farming job has lasted 35 years so far, so it is obviously the right job for me.
I am lucky enough to know a lot of retired farmers in their late eighties and nineties and sometimes wish I was also retired, mostly those bad days when my body reminds me that I am no longer a spring chicken. These retired farmers have so many stories and bits of wisdom to share and I always love hearing about their days of farming and am so grateful for the wisdom they can and will share with anyone that wants to listen. I can sit there for hours listening. I still have much to learn.
While listening to those stories I wonder if they have forgotten the bad times knowing from my experience that you can never farm without at least a few of those. These hardworking farmers seem to only remember the good times and carry a sense of profound accomplishment and pride. It is fascinating to me how the passing of time and memory work so well together.
I look down at their hands now twisted with arthritis and obviously very painful, the legs that no longer do what they want them to do and now require walkers and scooters, and I see those backs that can no longer bend straight and I feel sorry for them and worry about myself but then I listen to their stories, hanging on every fascinating word.
Those stories of joy, of satisfaction in a life well lived now being shared with me watching those twinkles in their eyes, hearing the excitement in their voices and the huge smiles on the faces of those farmers who tell me they would never change one thing. They honestly wish they were still out there in the fresh air and doing something they loved to do something they needed to do. They are happy with their lives and their choice to stick with it.
Well there you have it; I am now on the higher end of your average farmer running the farms in this country of ours. I am not sure how long this job will last but I do know that there is nothing I would rather be doing. You know now that I think about it the government probably thinks of me as an above average farmer now, I think I like that.
Possibly someday my stories will help and give some comfort and provide encouragement to that next generation that follows behind me just as the past generation has given me encouragement and comfort knowing there is so much to share and it was worth it. Time well spent.