What's a problem anyway?
The rain this week has stopped our fall harvest, giving me a bit of catch-up time. Time to repair both my tractors and a few other things. On Tuesday, after the repairs were done, I was on my way to town with a load of soybeans for the elevator when I received a text from a friend asking if I wanted to have lunch. Initially, I thought I should continue with my tasks, but then I decided that maybe a bit of downtime was exactly what I needed. Lately, all I'd been doing was fixing one problem after another and complaining about it to anyone who would listen.
So, after my morning tasks, I headed to town for lunch with Dale. We greeted each other and both asked how things were going. We began discussing all the problems in our work. This carried on as we sat in the restaurant, to the point where, you know, when the waitress comes to take your order, and you're so engrossed in conversation that you haven't even picked up the menu... Yep, like that.
As we sat there, I started to reflect on Dale's work issues, and having someone else's problems presented to me in perspective, I wondered, is that really such a big deal? He's going to carry on with his day, work through all the problems he's responsible for, and tomorrow, he'll do it all over again. So, I said to him, "What is a problem, really? Why do we get so upset about it?" He leaned back in the booth seat, pondered for a moment, and then shared some rather wise insight. "It's expectations," he said. "We get upset by things going wrong because we have our day planned out in front of us. We have goals for the day, and when we see those slipping away, we get upset."
It seemed like this meeting was meant to be. I, too, had been contemplating this a lot lately. It seemed like all I was doing was complaining about things not going as planned on the farm. I had recently been trying to just accept that this is just how farming is - it's just things that need to be done, not really problems. But this new perspective about expectations and goals for that day added some clarity. So, I responded to Dale, "You know, it's not really a problem; it's just the thing that needs doing now instead of the thing you were going to do." For me, I felt better, and we turned our conversation away from work and caught up on each other's families and such.
I've had a great week since then, with no more complaining to Anne about every problem I have. I'm just moving along through the days and trying to smile a bit more. Will I remember this in a month when that big thing breaks? Probably not! But I'm sure going to try!