April 21, 2014

Setting My Course

I think I was about 11 or 12 when my dad first taught me to drive tractor. Looking back it seems young, but it's the way things were with farm-life. A necessity of sorts -- kids could help haul wagons, run lunch down to the field, fetch parts when stuff broke down. As they got more adept at handling equipment they advanced their way up to doing more involved tasks.

To this day I remember one of the most important lessons about doing field work: setting your course. As I positioned the tractor at the end of the field, about to begin my first pass with equipment my Dad told me to pick a point at the opposite end of the field and to drive towards that. Setting my sights all the way to my destination would keep my course straight. If I was constantly picking short points ahead of me, I'd meander my way across the field in a hap-hazard, crooked mess.

This is a lesson I've used many, many times throughout my life. From day to day simple tasks like mowing the lawn (because yes, I like my lines to be straight) to bigger endeavors like getting through grad school research. It's not always a guarantee something won't set you off course but it helps to get to your destination.

I've realized though, that in the craziness of life lately, I've started looking ahead only to those close landmarks. Some of it is a way to get through the busy days and challenges with trying to juggle so much; that whole "take it one day/project/step at a time" bit. But it's time for me to refocus and set my goals further out. 

It's time to look at some big things and make it happen!