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Bring on the new!

Marci Whitehurst for Progressive Cattleman Published on 02 January 2018
snowy country road

It's a new year! I'm sure we all got a few goodies for Christmas, maybe a new pair of boots or coveralls … maybe a can of tuna fish (don't ask, but yes, it was wrapped).

Wouldn't it be great, though, if everything were new? New tractor, new truck, new barn, new shovel, new fence, new … you fill in the blank. Wow, life would be easier, right? Nothing would break down or need repairs.

The scuttle around New Year's has us thinking about new eating habits, new resolutions, etc.

What is really behind all the “new” though?

Sure, some resolutions are good. But do they really get down to the heart of the issue?

We bought a place about three winters ago that is a genuine fixer-upper. We've accomplished a lot, but there is still more to go. The pastures lacked TLC for quite a while, and the weeds that popped up in the spring were unbelievable. If we didn't whack them just right or dig them up (Houndstongue anyone? Our dogs looked like they had freaky chicken pox), the root was still there. We could get rid of the plant part of the weed for a while, but later on, that pesky root would shoot out another stem.

I feel like that about New Year's resolutions. I've made them before and I start out so good. I whack off the top of the weed, but then I get busy or tired, and I fall back to where I was before, just like a weed popping right up.

For me, I have to realize the “why” behind my resolution. Why did I make a resolution to learn to quilt? Well, I felt all the women around me knew how, so I should too. Did I really want to quilt? I'd probably enjoy it, but it wasn't a passion I had burning inside me. Could it be I wanted others to think I was talented at something? Ouch. Not the healthiest reason to take up a new hobby.

When I look at our ranch resolutions, I can't help but wonder, “Why?” Why do we do what we do?

2017 fixed up to be a difficult year for us. I couldn't wait to sing “Auld Lang Syne” and ring in 2018. Promptly let me start over please! And since we are starting over, I'd like to order no drought, no loss and no cancer. Cha-ching!

Yes, there is a real freedom that comes with a new year. Yes, there is a symbolic "rebirth" with the flip of the calendar. Yes, there are amazing things that come from new beginnings. Yet, if I drag my bad habits or my faulty reasoning into a new calendar year, I'll be starting the same pattern with a different date. Albert Einstein said, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity."

What new ranching things do we need in 2018?

None of us would refuse new equipment, but maybe we need:

  • A new perspective. How can we see old things in a new way?
  • A new opinion. Maybe we need a fresh set of eyes to look at our land and animals.
  • New priorities. What can we cut out to make life more simple?
  • A new hobby. Maybe we need to have fun again and we need to pick up a crazy hobby like stock tank water polo.
  • A new joy. Thankfulness sure can set us free to see the many blessings in life.

Whatever "new" we each need in 2018, may we capture the moment and treasure it. And if it is new equipment, enjoy it!  end mark

Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can follow her at her blog.

PHOTO: Looking down the road to 2018, what are you looking for? Photo by Marci Whitehurst.