“I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it.” — Johnny Depp
I had a strange dream the other night, right before I woke up, which is probably the only reason why I remember it. I usually don’t dream, or if I do, I don’t remember them, nor hold stock in what that dream may portend in real life.
My husband Keith and I were standing at the kitchen counters, preparing a meal, when our son Jon toddled out to us. It was Jon as a 3-year-old and I saw his face as vividly as if I had seen it the night before.
While the three of us were standing there, Jon — the nearly 17-year-old young man he is today — also walked in and stood by the counter.
I looked at both of them, and started to sob.
Then I woke up.
I’m no biblical Joseph, but it’s clear my subconscious is freaking out about the passage of time and our soon-to-be-empty-nester status.
And I’m even more keenly aware of that ticking clock this week because if you’re reading this on April 24, you’re reading it on my daughter’s 19th birthday — the first birthday she will celebrate alone because she’s at college.
Benjamin Franklin was right: Nothing is certain but death and taxes. But I would amend that: Nothing is certain but death and taxes and change.
I’m OK with change, I really am. I have no alternative.
All of us have to accept the fact that life changes. Neighbors change. Families change. Farming operations change. Laws change, jobs change, regulations change, public officials change.
Those of us who participated in Ohio’s Leadership Education and Development, or LEAD, program have been troubled by the program’s demise because of budget cuts within Ohio State’s ag college. There have been meetings, conference calls, and a lot of great minds trying to figure out how to put the program back together.
Maybe it will survive and maybe it won’t.
“Just because something is precious does not give it an entitlement to go on forever,” one of my fellow LEAD classmates observed.
We can’t look to the past or too much to the future, that we forget to live in the present. We can’t long for days gone by or yearn for things yet to come. To do so is to say today isn’t important.
But you can prepare yourself for changes. You can keep an open mind and an open eye to what’s coming. In farming, for example, you know the environmental regs will continue to get tougher, so you can improve your conservation measures today. You know animal welfare will only continue to increase in public concern, so you can make sure your handling practices are in order. Investing in technology or in training can also help you weather changes.
Ignoring what’s coming won’t stop it from finding you.
Change is never easy because it takes us out of our comfort zones. We have to learn a new skill set, or learn to do without something or someone. But change brings opportunities, too — opportunities that can build new strengths, foster new relationships or create new benefits.
Life — with all its changes — goes on. The thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it.