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A bit more fun

Progressive Forage Editor Joy Hendrix Published on 28 September 2021

Fall is looming and with it comes the end of the long days of summer and the late nights of harvest.

Although I’m sure you aren’t thinking about it yet, you are about to have more free (or at least slightly less hectic) time on your hands. Do you know what you are going to fill that time with?

Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale, has spent the last year and a half focusing on a subject that is a bit more untraditional in academia – happiness. Santos works with students to help them become aware of when and what is truly fun for them. After listening to a few episodes of Santos’ podcast, The Happiness Lab, I’ve been trying to consider how different individuals experience fun.

Last month, I attended an antique tractor sale. A farmer in our community had spent his entire adult life collecting a variety of tractors and maintaining them. After he passed, the family decided to sell the collection as individual lots, in hopes that each piece would bring happiness to another collector. Strolling through the over 60 lots, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad that the collection would be separated. All I could envision was the happiness and pride he would have had that day. To see his entire collection fixed up, cleaned up and out on display for everyone to see.

Then it hit me; the fun wasn’t in the overall collection. It was in the excitement he must have felt adding to it piece by piece and bringing home each addition with its own unique story. Which is exactly why the family decided to sell each one individually, so someone else could feel that sense of fun and pride in buying a piece to add to their own collection.

Santos emphasizes the idea of having fun in what she calls “microdoses.” Fun doesn’t have to be present only in grand gestures, or even time-consuming. A microdose could be playing a song you want to sing or hum along to while you are driving to town, or trying something new next time, regardless of your fear of embarrassment.

Farming is an exhausting and mentally draining profession. There are no true days off from being a steward of the land, and proper management requires constant dedication. Because of this, producers too often forget to incorporate fun into their lives. No matter what that looks like for you, be conscious of allowing yourself to have fun. Venture out to fill the time you have with things you enjoy and get in touch with the childlike feeling of experiencing fun, and let me know what you figure out.  end mark

PHOTO: A lifetime’s worth of fun is lined up and ready for auction. Photo by Joy Hendrix.

Joy Hendrix
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