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The Big Audacious Goal
Feeling stuck - trying to unstick. But how?
*Note: all the images this week were recent Facebook posts from my friend, Marilou, the first picture was her final post*
Maybe it's the long, hot days of summer. Or perhaps it's checking in with the news and feeling like everyone is crazy. Possibly it's just a midlife crisis - but I have been feeling so . . . stuck lately. Hopefully, it will get better once school starts.
I wake up, feed the kids, do chores, feed the kids again, try to work out, make the kids read, do our math work, do actual work work, feed the kids again, milk the goats, try to plan, write, do life admin, buy school supplies, fold laundry, clean the house, work some more.
It feels like I'm stuck on the hamster wheel of tasks, but I'm not heading in any direction; it's like the difference between movent and motion. This summer has felt more reactionary than deliberate; it's time to change that.
Now we start back-to-school, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and it will be Christmas in a blink. I'll begin planting fall bulbs and the cooler late-season veggies in less than a month - our pumpkins are already starting to orange up, and the pears and apples are putting on a rosy hue.
But, this fall, I will set specific, measurable, directional, and audacious goals to try to pull back out of this funk. Until I can imagine the person I want to become, no marginal changes are toward any specific end. Although I sit down every morning and set the to-dos and the goals for the day, "drink more water," "walk 20 minutes," and "post three things on social media," isn't pushing me to go anywhere.
I've been comfortable in this nice little routine - it's filled with flowers, goat cheese, children's laughter, and zucchini - but it's time to get uncomfortable and grow.
I got a call this morning from one of my goat friends that my "goat mentor," Marilou Webb, had died. Marilou was a national champion goat breeder and showwoman. She took her animals to national shows - and won big titles. Whenever we talked on the phone, I had to schedule at least two hours. Although her passing was not unexpected news after watching her battle cancer for several years, I was still sad.
Marilou loved Starbucks' Caramel Frappuccinos, the color yellow, and sunflowers. She had "wild" turkeys who would strut through her yard in Lyons, Colorado that she fought to keep from digging up her garden while also delighting in posting pictures of their fanned-out tails on social media. Marilou posted photos of old barns and flowers in mason jars almost daily.
She was opinionated about everything to do with goats, but had earned that right with years of work. Our last talks were about her breeding plans and what kind of kids she expected next season.
Marilou's passing reminds me that there are no endless seasons. At some point, there won't be another planting, kidding, or hatching.
Sometime, years ago, Marilou decided she wanted to be a national champion LaMancha (our breed of goat) breeder. When she still had many seasons ahead of her, she put in the work, research, money, time, and passion to excel in her tiny corner of the universe. It was relentless. She worked late nights, and early mornings, milking thousands upon thousands of pounds of milk. For much of that time, she worked at the customer service counter at Target while raising two sons.
But, she decided who she wanted to be - and BECAME THAT PERSON.
At one point, the cancer treatment weakened her bones, and she fell and broke her leg. Although Marilou struggled to get down the hill to her goats, she would still limp down there for as long as she could. After she could go no longer, her son, Richie, would take pictures or bring goats up to the house for her.
During one of our last visits, I brought Marilou a Caramel Frappuccino to the hospital, where, even while she was lying in a bed, we talked about goats. Over the years, she told me stories about being a Mom to two boys (we had that in common), life in Lyons, and her struggles after being widowed - she was a whole, complicated, multi-faceted person - but was also one of the best in the country at this one thing that she loved.
Tomorrow morning, I'll head out to my pasture and see my own goat kids who are second-and-third generations out of Marilou's famed South Fork LaManchas. While I milk, I'll imagine what Marilou was thinking when she decided on her big, audacious goal. I'll wonder if it scared her to think about pursuing her dreams, and know that even if it did, she just kept going.