This article was initially published as part of the Our Rural Roots Column for Progressive Farmer.
We were recently in Reno showing at the Nugget All-American sheep show and sale. At the beginning of the sale, they bring all of the breed champions to the stage, play the song “Auctioneer” and lift the curtain for everyone to see. It’s a really cool tradition.
It was the first time on the stage for my kids and me, as my son’s Reserve Grand Champion wether. It was double special as were able to share the stage with my Dad and brother who had our family’s Reserve Grand Champion Ewe. Our whole clan was on Cloud 9.
Right before the curtain lifted and the music played, the coordinator apologized for us “having to bring the sheep over for this.”
I laughed out loud. Having to? Who on earth would be complaining about getting to line up with their family on the champion row? There were a host of exhibitors back in the barn who would have gladly taken a spot on that stage. Until this year, I was one of them.
Since that day, I’ve been making a conscious effort to notice how often people seem to be living “have to lives” instead of “get to lives.” It has been shocking to me.
I heard it at the feed store when someone was talking about having to feed cattle in the mud, and I thought of how many ranchers in a drought pray for a porch full of muddy boots. A woman in the airport complained about having to sit in a middle seat on a plane to the beach, and I thought of friends who have never been able to afford to take their children on vacation. I overheard someone in a doctor’s office complain about having wasting time at this checkup, and immediately thought of women I know fighting cancer who would love to get to go to a routine doctor’s appointment.
This little exercise has really changed my perspective. When you are consciously trying to live a “get to” life, it’s amazing how many opportunities to do so arise!