During an incredible trip to the Scottish Highlands with my study abroad group earlier this month, I had the chance to meet a professional sheep farmer. This man works out of Leault Farm in Kingussie alongside his herd of sheepdogs. Putting my excitement to see the working dogs (and hold several adorable sheepdog puppies) aside, what really stood out to me from this experience was the farmer himself. He spoke of his life on the farm, sharing with us that he has never gone a vacation, and never plans to. Though my words cannot capture even a fraction of his character and energy, I will do my best.
This farmer loves his work and his life, and in many ways from his perspective the two are indistinguishable, as his work defines his character and has shaped who he is as a man. This is a distinct view; in our society, work that infringes upon the “life” aspect of work-life balance is see as undesirable, unless a hefty enough salary comes along with it, making the fatigue and stress “worth it” for many people. Yet this farmer flipped that notion on its head. His case proves that one may in fact lead the most meaningful, purpose-filled, healthy life when her work is deeply influential of and interwoven into her life.
Now I do not take these initial thoughts I had after hearing this farmer’s story as an indication that I should boycott practicality, ignore financial incentives and/or jump right into solving the problems I am deeply passionate about if I do not feel prepared (in terms of both knowledge and finances). Rather, his take on life helps me remember to always bear my passions in mind, to constantly revisit these passions, and to not wait too long before diving in full force to a career that allows me to fully realize these passions. Put simply, this sheep farmer reminded me that my passions cannot (and therefore will not) just be final destinations.