Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 1-23-12 | TheFencePost.com

Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 1-23-12

Shelli Mader
Hays, Kan.

So are you one of those people who are waiting for a big miracle to happen to make your dream come true? Are you looking for some amazing Biblical thing like Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a boy’s lunch?

While you may not be thinking to that extreme, I know we all want something a little like that to happen (I’m still waiting for that retiring farmer to give me his sizeable cattle ranch – preferably one with a creek and a log house). While it’s great to dream big and I definitely believe in miracles, basing our dream on the off chance that something big will happen is foolish. I know a lot of people who would be ranchers if someone gave them a ranch. But life usually doesn’t happen that way (good for you if it did!). Most of us have to work for our dream, which of course, isn’t always a bad thing. But along that journey I think many of us get depressed and discouraged. To prevent that despair from creeping in, it’s important that we ask ourselves if our dream is really worth the cost. If it’s not, it may be time to refine our dream or get a new one all together.

Dreams take work and they have a price tag attached. Your dream is going to take you time and money and cause you to miss some opportunities. Do you really want to ranch? Ranching usually requires a considerable financial investment, money that could be used for lots of other things. To save enough money to ranch you might have to really lower your standard of living or work a lot of extra hours. You might have to spend less time with your family, drive old vehicles, rent a less-than-ideal house, give up free time to work and skip big vacations. Is it worth it? There are a lot of great things about ranching, but it’s important to ask yourself if it’s worth what it takes to get there (and worth the cost of living the dream once you arrive). My parents lived in rental houses for the first 20 plus years of their marriage just so they could work toward farming. My grandpa gave up a construction job to be a farm hand. Right now my younger brother has a good job, but he’s living countercultural and sticking to a tight budget and driving an older vehicle so he can save for a ranch. There is a cost.

When we’re trying to decide if our dream is worth it, we need to be really honest with ourselves too. A lot of us complain about our lives (unfortunately, me often included) because we don’t take responsibility for achieving our goals. We often think (sometimes subconsciously) that the whole thing is out of our hands. It’s easy to tell yourself that you can’t ranch because you don’t have the money, life’s unfair, you don’t get good breaks like other people, your parents did you wrong, you don’t have time … the list goes on and on. While all those things might be true and there may be some legitimate things blocking your way, it doesn’t do you one bit of good to focus on them. In fact, replaying the list of reasons why you can’t ranch may be the one reason you aren’t ranching yet. When we place the responsibility for our failed dreams on someone or some outside force, it only gets us a free ticket to a pity party.

This week I encourage you to think about your dream and decide if it’s worth the cost. If it is, I hope you stop complaining and make the sacrifices you need to reach your goal. And who knows? You might get your miracle.