I was once given a magnet that reads “do more of what makes you happy.” That magnet hung in my office space for years as a constant reminder that I am the one in charge of my own happiness.
Today marks my one-year anniversary at Ten Acre Marketing. After an almost 9-year hiatus from marketing in the agriculture industry, I jumped at the opportunity because I knew agri-marketing is where my heart belongs. The agriculture industry raised me, shaped me as a young adult, launched my career, and still fascinates me today. It is the industry I married into and is where we are raising our young family. Agriculture plain and simple—makes me happy.
Yet… January 7, 2020, also seems like a lifetime ago. I started at Ten Acre Marketing loaded with positivity and enthusiasm, traveling to Chicago to attend Farm Journal’s Top Producer Summit, followed closely by a trip to Austin for United Fresh’s Brandstorm. Back in ND, Leah and I attended the local farm shows, reconnecting with our network, and sharing our brand story.
At the end of February, I met up with my college friends in Napa Valley. The day before we departed, the San Francisco airport was officially put on high alert, because of this new highly contagious “Corona” virus that was making its way to the U.S. Almost as soon as I returned from that trip, the emails would start flooding in that all the conferences and meetings we had planned on attending would be postponed, and ultimately canceled.
At a time when it would be easy to give up, we kept our heads held high and did what we could to move forward. The networking efforts we put into the beginning of the year eventually started to pay off. With the world at a standstill (or so it felt), businesses were starting to realize it was time to look at their brand and marketing strategy. It didn’t take long for our calendars to start filling up with Zoom calls. Presenting creative to our clients virtually instead of a meeting that would traditionally be held face-to-face was a little tricky to navigate, but nonetheless, we persevered.
It was not only the virtual work environment that was a challenge. With the arrival of
COVID, our local school and daycare closed – meaning our 3 kiddos were now under the same roof as my office space.
When the spring fieldwork started, my husband, a farmer, was now working longer days. It became a complete juggling act, scheduling work calls around my kids’ classroom Zoom calls and the youngest kiddo’s naptime. When it worked out, daddio would pick up a kid (or two, or three) and take them for a couple (or a dozen) rounds when I needed to concentrate.
However, as we adjusted to our new normal, time oddly seemed to slow down. I felt like I was actually seeing my kids grow up right before my eyes. I could look out the
window and catch a glimpse of them playing in the yard or take a break to join them for
lunch – luxuries a working mom doesn’t usually get in a normal workday. I felt my years
of working mom guilt slowly fading away.
If I needed inspiration for a project, I would join my husband in the field for a couple of rounds. If I needed an escape, I learned the best place is a quick jog or a long walk on a gravel road. I was simultaneously working... and living – a concept once foreign to me and always seemed impossible.
Looking back at this past year, even with the chaos of it all, I realized the most unconventional year brought me the most joy. Yes, it was hard at times, but once I figured out how to integrate personal life with work life, it dawned on me: I was doing more of what makes me happy. I am living my dream.
This spring I lost my sweet grandmother to COVID, but amid the heartache, she left me these words of wisdom, “love hard, work hard, and the rest will fall into place.” She was 100% right.