Why are you throwing your life away!?

It wasn’t said literally, but that was the facial expression. As I visited friends and family with many questions, the reactions seem to fall in three buckets. Those that are excited, those that believe we’re doomed for failure and those still struggling with the whole farmer thing as we appear to know nothing at all about the subject and they know more. I found myself repeating the phrase, “yes, I know … I know nothing about farming” and “I know, we’re crazy, but …” But really, what does it matter? There were also those who advised me to reread Charlotte’s Web. Now had I said that I’ve landed a job at a high tech company in Toulouse, the pay isn’t great, but the job looks fun. Those faces would have been supportive. Congratulatory. Excited that we landed so well after the big uproot. But then what would’ve been my adventure? A kiss good-bye to the family, an hour commute on the road one-way, meetings, valuable time spent arguing about nothing, moral events. Yes, I’m knocking the rat race. I like living life on the edge. I spent much of my life in the arts and almost equivalent time in high-tech start-ups which both satisfy that risky way of work. Nobody knows us, we are going to conquer the world, we have no money, but we’re going to make it big. What have we got to lose? Nothing if you’re in the arts. Quite a bit if you’re in a high-tech start-up. I see farming as the perfect blend of risky without a huge loss. A girl’s gotta eat don’t she? I need to buy a house. I need to eat. After that, what’s left? Some clothes I suppose. School is free and great. Healthcare is virtually free and great. Now I need to work on being a great (or okay) parent. I need to play with my children. I need to teach them to be considerate of others, to solve problems on their own, to drive themselves to accomplish what they want to be. The great appeal of this venture is that we can work at home with our children. At their age, they will LOVE the responsibility. I have to choose who gets to help with the dishes. The children absolutely thrive on adding value to the family. Sure the cynics will scoff at this as a phase or “wait ‘til they’re ten”  … yadda yadda yadda. For the time being, they will love a role. They will love to own something. The thing that stood out most of all with my visit to my old digs was after the big look and the crazyness of me farming was out in the air and off the table, almost every single person reflected on some farming or farming-like experience they had in their life. It may have been tough or fun or maybe an interesting point in their life, but they shared it with me. I listened excitedly and attentively. How sweet is it that one can look back on their life and fondly reminisce the time they kept chickens? How cute the chickens were, but turned out chickens weren’t for them or more commonly, “what a great time that was.” What are people sharing now? That they watched every episode of Lost and it was great? That they finally got that home movie room completed? What part of the soul does this satisfy? What part of the community did this affect? Most of this type of stuff will be replaced by the newest, greatest home entertainment and hip-cool episode with the new Johnny Depp (he is hot, though!). I suppose what I discovered after leaving the dream was that what I’m intending to do strikes a chord with people. People who’ve never farmed a day in their life vehemently clarifying how absolutely hard this way of life is. You will never, EVER be able to leave! It’s ALL OVER FOR YOU if you choose this way of life. And here I sit, a prisoner in my house as my youngest takes her daily nap, which occurs everyday at the same time each day, everyday. And it’s not so bad. I get time to read. Time to write. Time to clean up and think. Seeing as I’ve never farmed before in my entire life, I have no idea. Maybe I’ll be a prisoner to the animals. Maybe I’ll never get to leave. Somehow, I doubt it or at the very least, I question it. I’ll never know unless I try. Then I too will have my stories that I reflect on fondly as my friend shares with me this crazy idea about quitting it all and starting a small farm. Oh maw gaw, I’ll say, I did that for a spell and it was the best time of my life …

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2 thoughts on “Why are you throwing your life away!?

  1. mistyd December 1, 2009 / 5:55 pm

    “You will never, EVER be able to leave! It’s ALL OVER FOR YOU if you choose this way of life.” I think people who don’t have children feel this way when yet another friend gets pregnant.. and we both know how unrewarding and dull our lives are with children. 🙂 Hard work- yup.. tied to it forEVER – pretty much… totally rewarding and worth it though, right?

    I think you’ll be a tied to it more in some ways than other jobs but less in ways of your techie jobs and lifestyles. I grew up in a farming community but we weren’t farmers. The work ethic and sort of quiet satisfaction from a job well done in those kids is second to none. There are families who farm for generation after generation.. if it was truly horrible no one else would be doing it. I think you’re giving your kids a unique experience as well as yourselves. Well done for going towards the unknown. I wouldn’t have the cajones to do it… which is why I decided being an Artist couldn’t work as a career for me. It felt too scary to not have a steady pay check on which I could rely. But I really commend others for being able to do it.

  2. Jeffrey Froome December 2, 2009 / 7:07 am

    As someone who knew you when…I am not at all surprised that you have chosen to do something so extraordinary. When I was rehearsing with your company, I remember thinking “Jean can do ANYTHING, she has NO FEAR!” Brava, my dear – you and your family are truly brilliant! Bon Voyage!

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