I don’t know if other farmers suffer from farmer’s guilt, but I know I do. Farmer’s guilt is a term (I made up) that refers to the feeling of guilt a farmer gets when not working. For example, I have been sick. Whatever bug I have has just made me soooooooooooo tired. I can’t seem to get the energy to do anything and just want to take a nap. And I feel guilty.
I feel guilty about not working hard enough all the time except when it’s dark (you can’t do farmwork in the dark) and…well, I guess that’s the only time. And of course when I’m doing work I don’t feel guilty although actually then I think that maybe I should be working on something else like preparing a lecture for the college classes I teach. So I guess I actually do feel guilty about not working hard enough even when I’m working. And now that I think about it, I also feel guilty about not doing work when it’s dark because I can write a blog or work on powerpoint or the website or whatever.
Wow. That’s exhausting.
So anyways, I guess I have an issue.
Hello, my name’s Serina and I’m a workaholic.
I googled this subject and it turns out a lot of us overachievers have this problem. Not necessarily the farmer part, but definitely the guilt part. Anytime we relax we feel guilty.
So another blog made a good point that we have these beliefs that “If I’m not working, I’m not being productive.” Then you have to ask yourself What perspective would make you feel good about relaxing and not working?
Here’s what I wrote:
I would feel good about relaxing and not working if I knew all necessary work was getting done and that people helping me were happy in their labor.
Here’s the thing about farming. THE WORK IS NEVER DONE. As soon as you finish one thing, there are fifty more things to do and when you get done with the fifty things, that first thing needs to be done again and the cycle repeats. If you don’t take a break to relax, then you will get SO burned out.
You have to be willing to relax and willing to let (and make) other people help you-even if they’re not happy about it. It’s just a fact of life that people have to do things they don’t like. In my situation, I also have an autoimmune disease on top of everything that makes me very fatigued…all the time. It’s something that I just push through and do what needs to be done, but I can’t work as hard as I feel like I should be able to work. You hear about other farmers putting in 20 hour days and I compare myself to that and laugh. There is NO way I could do that. But I feel guilty. Other farmers get up at 4am. Ha! Heck no. I will change my profession before I have to get up that early. I have changed my lifestyle since I started farming to getting up at 7am from 10, 11 or noon which is totally acceptable when you’re a city slicker staying up until 2am, but that doesn’t work well for farmlife. But I haven’t managed to get myself up before 7am (except on special occasions)…and I feel guilty about it.
I guess we just need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Or find people to compare ourselves to that make us feel better.
For example, there is this awesome little island off the coast of Greece called Ikaria where people live forever…okay not forever, but longer than anywhere else. Read about them here in the next installment of this blog
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