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  • Writer's picturejrdreistadt

Forager, Farmer, Fool

A straw bale

About 13 years ago, a good friend told me that I should just do one thing if I wanted to be successful. As I approach my 40th birthday, what he said to me all of those years ago is finally starting to make sense.

I have approached much of my life as a hunter-gatherer. With insatiable curiosity and a strong desire to learn and do as much as possible, I exposed myself to many different kinds of ideas and experiences. I dabbled in a multitude of areas, leaving many projects incomplete. For example, I have always been a writer and have long wanted to seek a publisher for one of my books. As I sort through old computer files, I find half written book proposals, lists of agents who have never been approached, and the remnants of a clever and ambitious girl who just couldn’t focus on one thing at a time.

While being a hunter-gatherer may not have resulted in me fully articulating and achieving all of my goals, it certainly has made me a wiser and more interesting person. I have foraged my way through the bounty of life, feeding my soul with a rich feast of ideas. Within me is the depth and breadth of one hundred ordinary people. Ordinary people who are, admittedly, enjoying the fragrant blossoms of the single seed they have planted and lovingly tended for so many years. So while I feel a certain level of smug self-satisfaction and gratitude for the life I have lived, I also feel a bit of regret and remorse for everything that has been left behind in my feeding frenzy. I feel it is time to transition from surviving to thriving, from languishing to flourishing.

I, too, have planted many seeds in my life. Thousands of them. A brilliant idea here, a dream for tomorrow there. But I abandoned those seeds for sparkling meadows and alluring forests. The seeds were left behind in the wrong places, not planted deep enough into the earth, untended and unloved. Quantity over quality, exposure but never intimacy.

As I enter the fifth decade of my life, I am drifting back through fond foraging memories to glean those that most deeply resonate with the person I am today, the person I always was but hadn’t quite discovered yet, the person I will always be. Those memories will shape the farm of my future, the place that will be my home, my salvation, a reflection of my most significant commitments to myself and to this planet. I will continue to plant seeds, but will do so selectively and with the intention of offering my love and attention through the last blossom, from season to season.

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