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Women in Ag hear old-time advice on how to survive each 24-hour period

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Casper – School nurse Cathy Vasko was the keynote speaker at the annual Wyoming Women in Ag symposium held on Nov. 12 in Casper. Vasko combined hilarious dialect with real-life lessons that busy ag women can be apply to any 24-hour period of time.
“Part of the title of my presentation, The Longest Day is 24 Hours Long, comes from something my father used to say to me when I was little, all the time. On a really good day, say your wedding day, my father would say, ‘enjoy this day, it’s only 24 hours long.’ On a really bad day my father would say, ‘it’s only 24 hours long, and tomorrow you get a whole new day,’” explains Vasko of her chosen topic to present at the convention.
She highlighted 10 ways to get the most out of a day, and based several of them on terms and quotes her father used to say and she refers to as “daddyisms.”
“Something my daddy told me was to never judge a person by their relatives. He hated my mother’s hillbilly family. He had a hillbilly family too – both my parents were from southeast Missouri. But he would say her family was from so back in the woods they had to pump in daylight,” said Vasko to make her point.
“Don’t let your mouth write a check that your butt can’t cash,” is another comment from Vasko’s father.
“I finally figured out he meant not to talk yourself into a situation you can’t get out of,” commented Vasko to the laughing crowd.
“Put on your big girl panties and deal with it,” and, “Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it,” are two more “daddyisms” Vasko uses in her daily life.
“Do what you have to do. It seems like kind of harsh advice for people, but, truth be told, we could spend an awful lot of time wallowing around in what’s miserable when the solution is to just get through it, move on and get over it. It just makes sense,” said Vasko.
Another comment her father often made was, “Just fake it ‘til you make it.”
“Pretend you’re happy. Put a smile on your face. Research has demonstrated that if you’re not feeling particularly one mood or another, and you put a smile on your face, you’ll end up conveying that to other people, and before long it rubs off on you,” explained Vasko of the quip.
“You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in, and you don’t even have to change your outfit,” is another comment Vasko’s father told her as a child.
“This is my all-time favorite! It’s all about changing your attitude about the situation. That’s pretty much the way a 24-hour period of time will go. If you’re starting out with a really bad day and have to fake it ‘til you make it, then put on your big girl panties and deal with it, you’ll get through even the longest day.
“My dad’s belief was that attitude is a state of mind, and if your attitude is dirty, it’s like looking in a dirty mirror. If you change your attitude, you can change your outlook and outcome,” explained Vasko.
Another bit of advice Vasko learned is that looks change and rest is important.
“If you’re not getting rest, you will eventually, but it will be a forced rest. Your body will absolutely demand you rest if you keep pushing and pushing. Thirty minutes out of a 24-hour day isn’t long to just sit on the porch and breath, or take a bath, or exercise, or whatever you need to renew yourself,” commented Vasko.
“Kindness matters. Be kind to people and it will come back to you,” is another step to making the most of every day, according to Vasko’s father.
“It’s better for you to be the thermostat than the thermometer. The thermostat sets the temperature of the room. You can adjust it and it makes the room that temperature. A thermometer just reacts to the temperature in the room. You want to set the temperature or pace, not react to it,” explained Vasko.
Laughing uncontrollably, out loud, at least once every day is another piece of advice Vasko encouraged attendees to try.
“Laughing exhausts you and relaxes you and lowers blood pressure and the benefits of laughing last 24 hours,” commented Vasko.
Another point to surviving every day that Vasko mentioned is knowing that sadness will come without question. She noted that no one gets out of life alive, and it’s okay to grieve, but to move on and start laughing again when the time is right.
Friends are another key Vasko mentioned to survive each 24-hour period. “Surround yourself with funny, happy people. Grouches suck the life out of you,” she noted.
Another key point Vasko mentioned is that education is power. “You can’t put a number on the value of an education, and as someone who works in education, we’re losing our power in a big and meaningful way,” she noted.
Working at something you love, or faking it ‘til you find work you love, is another key to survival, she said.
Love is another element of importance. “When you say ‘I love you,’ look the person in the eye and mean it. When you say you’re sorry, look the person in the eye, too, or it doesn’t count,” she said.
“In summary, life is short – so take chances, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do,” she concluded with two of her favorite quotes
Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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