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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

The Farmer’s Field : Laugh More

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Ron Rabou

Winter in Wyoming can be interesting in a lot of ways. There’s the obvious – like wind, cold and the unpredictability that comes with where we live. There are moments we step outside and discover there’s no such thing as solid footing on a sheet of ice.  

Personally, I had no idea I could fall so clumsily and so quickly. Good thing no one was watching – this time. Sadly enough, I know there will come a day when I can’t just “walk it off.”  

Then, there are the wonderful roads. 

My family and I are blessed to live in the country and we love it, but there’s a price to pay, like long road trips on the ice and blowing snow, sometimes so severe it’s difficult to know whether you’re actually on the road.  

My sons travel 40 miles roundtrip to school each day, and my wife travels over 100 miles roundtrip to work. We travel well over 600 miles each week hauling grain for the farm and over 100 miles to get parts to repair the equipment on our farm.  

This time of year, I travel a fair amount giving keynote speeches, consulting in farm succession planning and working with farm families and agriculture organizations. In the past 45 days, I’ve found myself in Arizona; Washington; Idaho; Florida, twice; Colorado; Nebraska; Missouri and South Dakota. 

I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way. However, this year seems to be picking on me a bit, and it’s more than just the weather.  

In the past 30 days, I’ve landed Influenza A, strep throat and some horrific kind of stomach flu. To say I have felt a bit under the weather would be a gross understatement. The good news is I’m on my feet, and I keep fighting through it all.

I’ve had great success in my work during this time, but it hasn’t gone without me asking myself what has happened to my immune system and why have I been catching what feels like everything that’s floating around. 

It’s been a stark reminder of how easy it is to get down on yourself and your circumstances when you’re not at 100 percent.  

Life has a unique way of forcing us to keep things in perspective. 

I’ve often said if you are feeling sorry for yourself, all you have to do is look around.  There are so many people who have it so much worse than a few illnesses that will heal up in a few weeks’ time. I know this, and it is something I consciously try to remind myself of.  

What did it for me this time, however, was not the perspective piece. It was something different that caught me totally off guard.  

Fortunately, I was home when I suddenly felt nauseous. I went in the bedroom to lie down and within minutes, grabbed my “bowl.” No sooner did I step out of bed, came the most horrific puking session I’ve had since I was a kid.  

There’s no way to go about this quietly and respectfully, and I’m pretty sure my neighbors could hear me from over a mile away. 

As a 51-year-old man, I lay crouched on my knees over the bowl when our toy fox terrier Sophie entered the room at full speed, hair standing up on her back, ready to take out what vile creature had entered our house without her permission.  

As she began barking and attacking me, I was helpless. Literally, all I could do was focus on the task at hand. Thankfully, my wife came to the rescue and retrieved the dog before I became a casualty of her massive five-pound body.

As my “session” continued for what seemed like an eternity, my wife, who was holding Sophie, laid in the hallway crying because she was laughing so hard. Apparently, Sophie was convulsing she was shaking so badly. 

And, in all my misery, I began to laugh too. It was truly hilarious. Never in my life would I have imagined my situation garnering such a reaction from a dog who has only ever been successful at killing and eating bugs.  

My point is this – no matter what kind of situation we find ourselves in, it’s important to remember to laugh. We live in a world where we are surrounded by the bad news of the day and it’s easy to immerse ourselves in it.  

I think it’s important to keep it all in perspective.  

There’s always some negative if that’s what we’re looking for. Conversely, there’s always happiness and laughter if that’s what we’re looking for.  

Statistics tell us not only can laughter make us feel better, it can also help us live longer.  No matter what we do or where we are, we should always remember to look for the little things that make us laugh.  

We should stop taking ourselves too seriously and remember to laugh more. Our lives will be better because of it.

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