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Life is what you make it: Embrace the silliness

Jessica Peters for Progressive Dairy Published on 15 June 2020

Let’s be real: Farming stinks right now. If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to detail some of the things I hate about being a dairy farmer right now.

For starters, money. I don’t need or want millions, but it’d be nice to pay most of our bills each month. How about the hours? And never having an official day off is pretty annoying. When we do finally get a day or time off, we’re too tired to actually do anything fun. Have you noticed that after saying “No” to your friends for so long, they just stop asking you to participate? I have. Public perception and the animal activists certainly don’t help any, especially if you’re on social media. The lies they conjure up are seriously heart wrenching. To throw a more depressing and personal example onto the pile, we still haven’t been paid for the milk we produced in April, and it has kind of been a problem. All these awful things are happening, and yesterday, my brother and I laughed so hard we could barely stand.

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In the past, I’ve been accused of being too silly and out of touch with reality, and I get it. On the surface I may be wearing a fake mustache and singing silly songs, but underneath all the silliness is all the heaviness listed above. As farmers, we have a profoundly serious job with exceptionally real consequences. A job and life I take so seriously that some days it’s hard to get out of bed. So, if I seem “too silly” or “out of touch,” it’s because I choose to be. Happiness can be a choice. I’m not telling you to ignore the reality of our current predicament, but in the in-between moments, can’t we choose to be OK? Can’t we be the people who see the light through the darkness? Or even better, let’s be the person who makes someone else smile.

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Having said that, it’s OK to not be OK. Feeling all of your feelings is the only way to work through them. But, please consider this small piece of advice from someone who has been down a darker road than most: Sometimes, smiling – or making someone else smile – when it’s the last thing you feel like doing can turn it all around. Not for forever, but for today. And, sometimes, today is enough.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Jessica Peters and her nephew don silly mustaches.

PHOTO 2: With the Peters family, any event is a good enough excuse for a dinosaur costume. Photos by Jessica Peters.

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Jessica Peters is a dairy farmer in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Follow her farm on Facebook.

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