I showed all of my cards.
Then, he asked if I could be "hay help."
Like....I'm 30. Not 17.
Shouldn't he have known by now that my bale tossing days are over?
Shouldn't he have known that I'm not as good as I once was?
Shouldn't he have known that there are kids around the block (or 10-mile radius) that are looking for money?
I agreed to the deal. My skin needed vitamin D. My physique needed...a lot.
I showed up early Saturday morning to learn that "hay help" entailed directing him as he loaded round bales from the field to the trailer, and haul them home.
Without a doubt, whenever I spend an extended period of time with Dad (more than 2 minutes), I'm certain to take away a lesson or five.
But for the sake of time -
I know you have
cows to feed
and life to get back to.
One hour into the 6-hour adventure with Dad and the farm truck - totally trusty since bought brand new in 2001 - was over heating while climbing a 3-mile hill (4 separate times) and pulling 14 large bales, each load. How dare that truck?
Dad geared down, adjusted, watched the gauge move completely into the red zone and finally - told me to throw my legs out the window.
I couldn't deal.
My legs were fixin' to combust and air hotter than a firecracker was in my face.
Twice I thought my extremities were on fire. I couldn't put my feet in front of any vent.
I sincerely thought: This is the hottest I've ever been in 30 years.
"I know there is a blog in this situation somewhere, but it's too hot for me to even process thoughts right now!" I yelled over the roar of the engine and 4 windows down.
We made it home - all bales transported and unloaded - at 7:23 that evening.
But the thing I learned - and you can too - from hauling hay several miles from home with Phil Bowman:
There is value in discomfort.
So what if your heart is broke?
You had to move to another notch in the belt?
You had to use the cheap "Q-Tips" that bend with your force?
Your shoes leak in all of this water?
She won't call you back?
You can't afford to keep the house at 67º?
Your budget won't allow buying lunch daily or even the new dress?
You have to work with shoddy equipment for a little longer?
You have to wait just a little longer?
Remember: discomfort means that you're growing.
I'll be brutally honest when I admit that I moved home from Washington, DC too early. I was homesick. Sad from Granddad's passing. Listening to folks other than myself. And left an incredible opportunity back in the District - rather than growing from that discomfort.
But I've learned:
It's good - no, great - for one to experience discomfort. To not get what you want. Things have historically been easy, accessible, changeable and nice.
Challenge yourself outside your comfort zone a little.
The hay is home, the truck is operational, we have all extremities and Dad and I can laugh about it now. But trust me, next time he asks me what I'm doing on a Saturday I'll be asking for clarification.
My friend Brandon shared this, and I think it's worth passing on:
“If you are willing to do only what is easy, life will be hard.
But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.”
– T. Harv Eker