Column: Coming to a crossroads

Farm Forum

Have you ever arrived at a crossroads in your life? The type that has you second-guessing the very things you’ve been working toward? Have you ever been so close to reaching what you thought was your goal, only to find that maybe your destination wasn’t quite what you had expected?

That’s where I am. And I don’t like it.

I tend to see myself as a positive thinker. I like to see the silver lining in the dark clouds, to pick out the positive, even when it’s heavily outweighed by the negative. Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t see myself as a consummate cheerleader. I like to think of myself as someone rooted in reality. I just figure that if you can’t change the outcome, you might as well make the best of it.

But lately, I’ve found myself unable to do just that. I have to admit, it worries me.

I remember a time that the first of a new year would have people excited about the opportunities for the next 365 days. Instead, we now plan for the demise of our resolutions before we have a chance to even make them.

Perhaps the changes that society has made make me so ill at ease. For the last 200-plus years, an election has been held, allowing a new presidential term to begin. So far, not one has led to the demise of our country, but with the wonders of social media (or, perhaps, the curse), we are now bombarded with extreme amounts of negativity.

I have a friend who is concerned about the church he attends. He fully believes in God, but he finds himself so distracted by the conflict inside the church walls that he questions if he’s where he wants to be in his religion.

I have another friend who is part of an organization that seems to have strayed from its original path, creating conflict instead of joining others together. She questions if her talents will ever be appreciated, let alone used in a way that would benefit future generations.

Do you give up on the path you’ve been going down, stopped by the wall that has come up? Or do you venture off and start a new path, not knowing where it might lead? Is there a wrong answer?

For example, when it comes to the current administration, we can either sit around making snarky comments and creating highly inflammatory Web content, or we can work toward improving our own local government. Take the opportunity to get involved. Let your voice be heard, but in a positive way.

It’s kind of like punching in a destination on your GPS: You need to decide if you want to take the shortest route, the fastest route or a detour along the way.

The toughest part is not knowing what’s coming up ahead, not having an instruction manual to get you through and not having that annoying voice telling you where to turn.

Val Wagner loves raising her four boys on the farm in Dickey County, along with her husband, Mark. Catch her blog, Wag’n Tales, at, or follow one of their cows on Twitter at Cows_Life. Contact her at