It's often said that the only guarantee in life is impermanence, or change. It's a common theme found in philosophy, psychology, as well as religion — including Buddhism and Christianity. Change and impermanence are an inevitable fact of life, but can still be a big source of anxiety, even though change can be a good thing in the long run. In a way, it can be a relief to remember that all things are temporary — in the sense that nothing, good or bad, lasts forever.
With that said, as the end of the 2021 growing season draws near, and growers across Iowa and the Midwest begin the planning stages for next year, I'll be turning a page myself. Soon, I'll be moving across the country to pursue a master's degree in rangeland ecology — a longtime passion of mine ever since I first visited the sandsage prairie in southwest Kansas around eight years ago, which has only been fueled since then by time spent in the Sandhills and mixed-grass prairie in western Nebraska. Now, I'll be following that passion to the sagebrush steppe ecosystem in the Intermountain West.
And, while I'm beyond excited for the next chapter of my life, I'll also miss the great people I work with at Farm Progress — not to mention the farmers and ranchers I've come to know during my time here. Throughout the last nine years, I've been lucky enough to travel to places and meet people from all over the Midwest and the country. I've said before that I've been incredibly privileged to work in an industry where every day provides a new learning opportunity. In fact, if it weren't for my time here, I probably never would have realized my passion for grasslands and rangelands.
Recently, while cleaning out my old desk at Nebraska Farmer, I went through some old notepads that stirred up old memories of past interviews, trips to different parts of Nebraska — a couple to Idaho — and names of people who have retired, moved away and passed away. It's a bittersweet reminder of the concept of impermanence, but also a happy reminder of the experiences I've had here.
Impermanence has also taught me that time is a finite resource — and there's no time like the present to accomplish your goals. In other words, the next several years will pass whether or not I go back to school. And the older you get, the faster time passes. With that in mind, the decision to go back to school wasn't an easy one, but one I'm certain will be beneficial for my own personal growth. I’m extremely grateful for all the folks I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the last nine years — for the lessons learned along the way, and helping to set the stage for the next chapter. If all goes according to plan, I'll be working in a related field and hopefully crossing paths with old colleagues — and as the old adage goes, it's not "goodbye," but "see you later."