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’Tis the season

Progressive Cattleman Editor Cassidy Woolsey Published on 24 October 2017

At nearly 100ºF, it was a relief to be greeted with air conditioning as I walked through the automatic doors. Grabbing a shopping cart and strolling through the aisles, I noticed something peculiar given the grueling heat in my Idaho home: garlands, mistletoe, snow globes and Santa knickknacks.

Now, this kind of heat during Christmas might be possible and quite normal in some locations but, for the Pacific Northwest, the odds are as good as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl. Worried I had somehow missed four months of my life, I reached for my phone to check the date; it was only Aug. 24.

Is it just me, or does Christmas seem to come earlier each year? Although I am one of the holiday’s biggest fans, it makes me sad to see us leap over another, just as important, holiday: Thanksgiving.

Besides turkey, pilgrims, pumpkins and those cornucopia things, there’s an important message hidden amongst the food, football and turkey-induced naps. Here we come together with family and friends – under one roof and around one table – to celebrate a holiday of thanks.

Guilty as the next person, I tend to leap over events or stages in my life – dreaming of what the future holds. Will my husband and I be able to return to the family farm? Or will we be able to start our own? Are kids in our future?

Can we secure enough leases so we can expand our small cow herd? What should I do this weekend? Can it be summer yet?

“Living in the moment” is a term used quite often – and while this is easy to achieve physically, achieving it mentally can be a little more difficult. A few years ago, psychologists at Harvard University collected information on the daily activities, thoughts and feelings of 2,250 volunteers to find out what made them most happy.

Interestingly enough, reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming wasn’t on the list. They found, even when thinking about something pleasant, this mind-wandering activity consistently makes people less happy.

These researchers are confident being distracted is the cause of unhappiness. How ’bout that?

Now, if you’ve ever spent a few hours behind the wheel of a tractor, or on the back of a horse, you know those are probably the most mind-wandering things you can do. But as the researchers state, “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”

In agriculture, especially, it can be easy to look ahead to better times – better prices, less debt, more help, better help, the end of calving season, you name it. But all that comes at a cost – a cognitive cost.

This Thanksgiving season let your mind wander to all your seemingly small blessings. Whether it’s having Grandpa for yet another Thanksgiving, a pickup that runs despite its age, two legs that work, money in the bank, friends who faithfully show up every branding season and, most importantly, the chance to wake up every morning doing what you love.

It might not be easy, but it’s always something to be thankful for.  end mark

Cassidy Woolsey
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