This weekend we had our 30 year high school reunion. It was an amazing experience, reconnecting with old friends, making new friendships with people we really didn’t know and enjoying time reminiscing about old times. There is something so special about the Sylvan Hills class of 1989. Even though we didn’t all run in the same circles, everybody was important. This weekend, we celebrated successes and comforted some who are in a hurtful time in their lives. There were so many hugs, belly laughs, new memories and a few tears. There was plenty of music, dancing and probably too many beers. This year was special because it was our first to attend together….as a couple….married. It was fun sharing our journey of reconnection, how friendship turned to so much more and stories about the farm. As we shared our story with old friends, it almost seems like a fairy tale, like Cinderella whose prince finally showed up with her glass slipper. And honestly, it has been quite a magical journey.
There were some who asked, “Do y’all ever even fight?”. Well, the answer is definitively yes. Some of you may have even seen a glimpse of that first hand. We have issues just like everybody else. I get a little neurotic about things. I like to get things out in the open. He needs to process…which most of the time means that I’m pushing him for a reaction while he needs space. It’s not pretty when it happens. The same passion that fuels our relationship is still there when we have an argument. But here’s the deal, we are real people with terrible imperfections. We make mistakes. We say things we don’t mean. And in the end, we talk through it, share our thoughts, say our apologies and reconnect. We try to be transparent but we don’t share those details because our mission is to spread joy. And because those tough moments aren’t joyful and they definitely don’t define us. But all the silly stuff about goats and chickens and pigs are what we are striving for….moments of joy in the midst of the sweat and hard work and fusses. As we debriefed the weekend, we talked about our theme or our mantra for this crazy life we are living. And we decided it all comes down to one thing…..taking risks and stepping off into what makes your heart smile. In high school, Steve and I weren’t really social friends. We had very deep conversations in my bedroom windowsill about serious topics….death, politics, music….pretty heavy stuff for teenagers. They were the conversations where you lay open your heart…risky conversations, especially when you’re 16. After my divorce, when we decided to give this thing a shot, we took a huge risk. We stepped off the cliff and took a chance that this relationship would work. Some thought it was too soon. Some thought I needed more time. But we kept going back to one of the best lines in our favorite movie,
When Harry Met Sally, “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”. It was a risk.
And then, when we decided to walk away from corporate America and buy a farm, we stepped off….took a risk. It’s not easy but the rewards are great.
Laying your heart open after a big fight is a risk. It’s harder to forgive and truly forget than to hang onto the hurt. You lay open your heart and you’re vulnerable to be hurt again. The risk-taking has become who we are. And it is so worth it. The rewards on the back side of it are what makes life worth living. The mistakes, the hurt, the heartache only define us if we let them. We decide what defines us, and I say for us, it’s celebrating the joy in every day, working through the hard times and loving on baby goats, sunflowers, pigs and chickens. So our advice…. .take the risk, step off the cliff, commit to the journey. Define yourself by the moments that matter, not the mistakes or imperfections. Be thankful for the process. This weekend was so important. It gave us a chance to really reflect on what got us here and be thankful for the people in our lives who have been a part of this beautiful ride. I’m so proud of the amazing circle of friends we share who support and love each other, warts and all. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make it an event that none of us will ever forget….especially to Amanda Ruple who herded the cats, planned, coordinated and executed a flawless experience.
We hope to see so many of our classmates at the Farm over the next ten years until we get to that 40th. Go Bears Go!