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Jolly is as jolly does as we wrap a stressful year in the beef business

Article-Jolly is as jolly does as we wrap a stressful year in the beef business

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Feeling the burden of a yucky year? Take the time to talk it out.

“’Tis the season to be jolly…”

My granddaughter is going about the house singing this familiar Christmas carol, getting everyone within earshot into the Christmas spirit while she gears up for choir practice.

This is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, or should be. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s hard to get into the spirit of the season when you feel the weight of too many disappointments and discouragements heavy on your mind.

And you, like me, probably aren’t very good at talking about it.

After my most recent experience with self-inflicted bodily injury, my wife asked how I felt. “Hurts,” I said.

“You don’t say,” she responded, sarcastically I suspect. “How much?”

“A lot.”

I knew what would transpire next, because it has transpired too many times to count. She rolled her eyes and said, “For someone in the communication business, you don’t communicate worth a darn!”

She’s right. When it comes to that kind of stuff, we keep it tamped down inside. And if we won’t talk about something as superficial as a fractured bone, we certainly aren’t going to share those deeper hurts—the ones that eat at our heart and soul and mind until they fester to the point of breaking.

And when it breaks, it isn’t pretty. It is often tragic.

There will be plenty written in the next month about dealing with holiday stress. It will focus on things like budgeting for holiday gifts and handling the in-laws.

That’s important. For folks in the cattle business, however, stress at a time that’s supposed to be joyful runs much, much deeper.

We can’t make stress go away. We can, however, deal with it in better ways than self-medication and sitting in the shop asking, “Why me?”

So talk. If not with a family member or friend, with someone. Often, sharing with someone you don’t know is easier that sharing with someone you do. God is always ready to listen. If talking is hard to do, write it down.

But get it out. Break down those walls of stoic independence and pride. Enjoy the wonderment and miracle that this time of year is all about. Then take a deep breath and look ahead to a better 2020.

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