A Life Unexpected

When I was in high school, I went to Washington, DC.  Twice.  It was amazing.  I was absolutely in love with it and decided that, for certain, I would live in a big city someday.  I would wear fancy suits and tall shoes and I would carry a powerful, yet trendy, briefcase and wear pearls and be rich and powerful and important and it was all going to be awesome.

So, here’s a picture of me this Spring, on a typical Saturday morning:

Tractor and Cat

Right.  About all those plans.

Sometimes life does not turn out the way you plan it.  And that’s actually finally ok with me.  For a long time I felt like I was somehow a failure if I didn’t meet the adolescent picture of success that I had dreamed up.  But my love for politics and all things fashionable and metropolitan has slowly morphed into an incredible love for rural-living, hard work in the dirt, and domestic (or should I say homely) things that I never, in a million years, would have anticipated.  But we’ve discussed that already.

I even, as you can see, spent some serious time driving a tractor while wrangling a stray cat.*  My life is so unexpected, so completely contrary to what I might have imagined, and yet, I love it.  Truly love it.

It was really easy for me to pack up and move to DC for grad school.  It was really hard for me to admit that I didn’t love it, that it didn’t live up to my sky-high expectations, and that I wanted to move back to the midwest.  (Midwest coast is the best coast!  To me, anyway!  Love me some great lakes!  Even Lake Erie and it’s three-eyed, two-tongued fish monsters.)

Granted, living in DC was an excellent experience.  I saw that the grass was not, in fact, greener on the other side and I made amazing friends and had wonderful experiences that I am incredibly grateful for.  I would have always wondered if I hadn’t tried it.  But I was happy to leave and I am quite happy to be settled where I am now: smack dab in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin.  Surrounded by beautiful farmland and gentle hills, the smell of manure and fields of sunflowers.  A place where the sound of horse hooves and a buggy rolling down the street isn’t terribly uncommon and where parking lots are equipped with both cart corrals and hitching posts.

(Something you should perhaps know I about me.  I get really into things.  Things like dinosaurs, rocks, the Manson family, HAES, Lean In, etc, etc etc…  Recently, I got really into learning about the Amish and Mennonite cultures.  I read some non-fiction, learned lots of fascinating things about the Anabaptist communities throughout the US and Canada and then I borrowed some fiction books set in plain communities from my friend Michele– they were AWESOME.  How I can like both Fifty Shades and Amish Country Crossroads is beyond me… but I do.)


I truly love it here.  I love my life here.  It’s a far cry from marble buildings and people in suits, but it is a perfect place for me.

(Fade out to song lyrics:  Home, let me go ho-o-o-me, home is wherever I’m with you……)

*For those of you wondering (Steph-a-nie…), the cat is doing great!  (And number 5 is alive!)  We were out picking rock in the field (cue joke: we really should stop planting those rocks every year!  But seriously, glaciers, it’s a thing) and my husband’s uncle heard meowing over the sound of the tractor and found a kitten in the ditch.  He was HUNGRY and therefore MAD.  So, since I was sitting atop the tractor, I was tasked with wrangling him until we were done picking rock and we could get him back to the barn for milk.  (Seeeriously?!  Do you see what my life is like– how could I have possibly anticipated all of this?!  Let alone anticipated liking it so much!)  Because we were out picking rock, I named him Rocky.  (Also because in the movie Rocky Balboa (aka Rocky 6) Rocky says that Adrian died of “lady cancer,” and I love that that’s what he calls it, even though it’s sad.  But I didn’t tell anyone on the farm that part.)  So anyway, even though Rocky tried to claw his way up my neck, we got him back to the barn, got him some delicious fresh milk (straight from the cow– again, my life, what?!), and he’s doing quite well there.  A lot of people drop cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies off at farms… it’s pretty common.  My husband’s uncles always take them in and let them live in the barn, coming and going as they please– it’s a good life for those lucky animals!  And as a bonus: they have very little trouble with mice.  I can see how that would be a good thing 😉


…Oh geez.  It seems as though I can’t stop coming up with things I want to say.  An additional note about the photo.  A large part of me is hesitant to share this picture with you on account of the way I look.  (My hair!  My clothes!  My face!  My weight!)  But how am I ever going to convince you that I drove a tractor… while wrangling a stray kitten… without photo evidence?  There’s just no other way.  BUT… But another part of me is actually totally cool with sharing this picture because it’s not about my hair, my clothes, my face, my weight.  It’s about me driving a tractor while wrangling a stray kitten.  AND you reading this blog is about us sharing some stories, some insights, some thoughts– it’s not a beauty contest.  (But if it were a beauty contest, my little sister would win– trust me on this one.  Too cute for words, she is!  (where is this yoda-speak coming from???)  Seriously, she’s gorgeous, inside and out!)  So there you have it, insecurity out in the open– enjoy the tractor!  (Now I’m really done.)

11 thoughts on “A Life Unexpected

  1. I too love Fifty Shades AND love the Rose trilogy by Beverly Lewis which is based on the Amish community. If you have not read the series, I highly suggest it. 🙂

    1. The Rose Trilogy?! Got it– Marshfield Public Library, here I come! Thanks for the recommendation, Ashley! Our book tastes clearly mark us as kindred spirits. We should be friends on GoodReads! Do you use GoodReads? I love it!

  2. I know how that feels! I wanted to stay in Michigan… turns out not enough to justify living in Flint. But if I hadn’t l wouldn’t be where I am now! So though I hated it and had some of the hardest times of my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. Funny how that works! Totally worth it to try a new city though and 100% ok to decide it’s not for you!

  3. I think it’s important to have goals and plans for life, but it’s equally important to be flexible and take things as they come.

    P.S. The cat is adorable, and you look great! 🙂

    1. 100% agreed! and I think you and I both know that when life says don’t be a PI even though everyone else, for years, including your own brain, has been screaming at you: BE A PI! It’s hard, so very hard, to let yourself enjoy doing something else for a change. But I’m glad I did!

  4. 1. I simply do not know how we didn’t hang out more in DC, that town I feel very similar to you about.
    2. I have never been to Minnesota but you make me want to!!
    3. I LOVE that you love your life.
    4. I LOVE the way you write! I have trouble following all the “write this way if you want people to read your blog” rules bc I don’t WANT to write that way I want to write like me! And the blogs I’m drawn to write like me (is that narcissistic or just honest?).

    1. 1. SERIOUSLY! I know!
      2. Minnesota is cool too, I’m going there this weekend. But where I am, and where the real party’s at is Wisconsin! 😉
      3. Thanks, it’s been a long time coming!
      4. Holy cow… we totally write the same! When I read your blog I feel like I could have written it and I do love talking to people who talk just like me. I’m calling it honesty… because narcissism makes me feel bad. I struggled with how to write this blog because I’m so used to being clear, concise, scientific, etc in my regular life. I decided to toss that out the window and go for genuine. I write the way I talk and I feel like I have an easier time letting the personal words flow that way. Perhaps you have found the same?

      1. I get so self- righteous when people confuse “Mississippi” and “Missouri” ( I mean, seriously?) and if I had a dime for every time I wrote Minnesota ” and meant “Wisconsin” I’d be rich. (I mean seriously?). I’ve never been to either so there’s that as an excuse too 😉

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