I’m reading this cool little book on my Kindle of a man’s transAmerican road trip. It’s your typical post collegiate soul searching tale, I suppose, but his thoughts (it reads more like a diary than an adventure blog… But then again, that’s how I write travel journals, too, so maybe that’s why I keep reading about him reminiscing about the frat house) so closely mirror mine, it’s creepy.
College is supposed to be the place you find yourself. I have me, but I missed that life direction thing people talk about. I mean, physically, I’m exactly where I wanna be – on a couch in a quiet little house in the middle of BFE. I can’t think of many better geographic locations. Well, maybe on a couch in a quiet house in BFE with my husband, but I’m a farm wife… You know, a widow for 10 months of the year. 🙂
But emotionally, maybe socially, speaking I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t even have a shadowy twenty year plan. It seems so easy for my Other Half. I was thinking earlier about OSU-Okmulgee (sorry, OSUIT) and how he would have loved a couple years there. But then, after graduation, would he have been happy? A welder’s life, 18 hour days and hot stuffy shops and sweet gigs in like, the Arctic, have got to wear on a guy who is happier and more at peace with life when he comes home at 11 covered with grease and smut (technical term) dust and who knows what, sore and stiff from being on the tractor since 8, than any pencil pusher I see at work.
Farming is such a lifestyle. The guys at work, they have hobbies from Harleys to hunting to bowling, and seeing them, you’d never know they were pencil pushers from 8 to 5. Their paycheck may determine their lifestyle, but does not make any other demands on their time. A farmer/rancher, though, lives and breathes it, like a bad cough. The clothes (how many careers have clothing stores (hold that thought, nurses) where you buy clothes for every.minute.of.your.day, from work to play to party, for the whole family?) distinguish a country boy. The diesel smoke accentuates the blue collar. The music, despite its incessant inundation of pop star wannabes, prides itself on being the anthem of every twenty-something with a lifted truck and a Coors Lite. Or a Bud, if you’re from anywhere other than our little corner of heaven – or if you’re cheap. Or have no concern for labels. But I digress.
How many CAREERS define your address? Your living room decor? Your taste in movies (although there hasn’t been a solid Western Rat Pack since Clint’s era)? Your footwear? Your TV programming (RFD vs Donut Shop Owners’ Nightly News?) Your winter coat? You may not be able to distinguish an exec from a writer from a preacher in a brushed wool peacoat, but by Golly, you can point out a redneck in his Carhartt.
When I was little, I *had* to let people know I was a farm girl. Then I hit a phase where I wasn’t doing a lot of riding or tractor driving, so I was back into sneaks and wearing whatever. Which, oddly enough, does not pull my farm girl card as quickly as it would have for a boy. But then in high school, I fell back into 13MWZ (before I had girl curves) and Ariat, and haven’t looked back.
Until now – for 43.5+ hrs a week, i wear slacks and skirts and tops that I paid $35 for at Express. I love Express, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m selling a piece of my soul every time I click Buy Now. My comfy saggy riding jeans get no use.
Maybe this is my dilemma. It’s an identity crisis. How does a farm girl with a farm degree living on a farm married to a farmer have a profession that allows for high heels and patterned tights but begrudgingly permits Jeans Fridays? How can I be the Farm Wife I was destined to be when this City Life eats my time and energy and gas money?
So maybe I am jealous of the Mister. He has no crises, except mechanicing emergencies and playing amateur meterologist. The biggest sway to his five year plan is the long term market forecast (which is just guesses, anyways, right, so why bother?). Maybe I am slightly envious that he has the drive and skills and ability to live his dreams now – because he knows what they are. Just as my intrepid storyteller has a zigzaggy map for his Trail of Tears (kidding! He hasn’t cried. Yet.), my Better Half knows the most direct route from Here to Forever is via combine and squeeze chute. With his wife at his side and his Lab at his feet, he can do anything.
Does the road to the combine and squeeze chute detour through downtown? Looks thataway, pardner. So maybe I’m having an identidy crisis, between city and country and wife and breadwinner, but I’m still raised from the mud and the sun and dust. You just do what it takes, for the good of the herd.