July Fourth is a day of family, grilling, lakes and fireworks. This year marks the 235th anniversary of the date when 56 men declared to the themselves and to the world that they would no longer be ruled by a king. Thinking back to that era, as those influential men sat in a closed room making key decisions that continue to guide this country today, perhaps one of the most important sentences from the Declaration of Independence is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Although times have certainly changed since our founding fathers wrote these key words, Americans are still enjoying their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On this Independence Day, I’m taking some time to reflect on the many things I can be thankful for — freedom, good health and the opportunity to make a living doing what I love.
They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life; and I think that holds true for many of us in production agriculture. One of my favorite quotes is, “Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it.”
I never dreamed I would be back home on the ranch, married to a farm boy and raising cattle with my folks. I always pictured myself leaving the cattle behind and pursuing a big city career. Yet, here I am, and I couldn’t imagine life any differently.
Of course, life isn’t always easy in cattle production. The weather, high input costs, unexpected expenses, long hours and little pay make the beef business a tough one. So, I’ve learned to find happiness in the little things that matter. To me, happiness is enjoying meals-on-wheels in the hay field with the family because the sun is shining and the baler has to keep rolling. Happiness is holding hands with my husband, Tyler, as we walk down the driveway to the house after a long day of working cattle. Happiness is grilling steak on the back deck and watching the sun set on our pasture as the cattle graze. Happiness is selling our bulls and hearing back from our customer about how excited he is about his new calves. Happiness is watching my little sisters grow and learn in agriculture. To me, happiness is where you find it.
So, no matter where you are spending the holiday weekend, remember the men who shaped this country into what it is today and allow us the opportunity to work hard at doing what we love and finding happiness in our chosen paths. And, if you happen to be in a hayfield this weekend and not sitting by a pool, just smile and know you can be happy no matter where you are. To me, agriculture is my happy place. Is it yours?