Dec. 15 2021 08:00 AM

Life isn’t always simple and perfect, but that’s what makes it valuable.

I still can’t believe it’s December. Where did the months go? In a lot of ways, for me at least, 2021 was harder than 2020. I suppose a lot of it has to do with this pandemic. When it hit last year, it didn’t really derail my life much. I still milked, fed, and cared for cows every day alongside my farm family. Yeah, I saw a few less people than in previous years, but honestly, I don’t go many places as it is. But 2021, man, yikes. Supply chain issues made farming hard and a little scary. The uncertainty of the world made living a lot harder and scarier. People stopped being friends with other people over politics, face masks, and, of all things, toilet paper. Toilet. Paper. This is my last blog post for 2021. Don’t worry, I’ll be back next year talking about who knows what, but I wanted to end the year with a little advice.

Do hard things. This year, for me, just getting up every day and being present was a relatively hard thing to do. I didn’t excel at anything, I didn’t make goals or dreams come true, I just . . . was. That sounds like a pretty pathetic living, and I guess it kind of was. But I was talking to a friend lately and gave her some advice that took me off-guard because it’s advice I sorely needed to believe myself. When we’re young, planning for our own future, we assume we’ll work hard and get to a place where we’re happy, where life is what we hoped it to be and consistently pleasant. We don’t anticipate the flux. The truth is that the joy is in the flux. The highs wouldn’t be so high without the lows.

Something I learned a long time ago is that all the things worth doing are scary things. The best things I’ve ever done scared the crap out of me. I moved to New Zealand all by myself months after I graduated college. I published a children’s book. I spoke, and still speak, publicly about my depression to anyone and everyone who will listen. Each of those things have changed my life in irrevocable ways.

Do hard things. Do hard things because you can. We’ve become so afraid to fail that we don’t even try to succeed. Make 2022 the year you try to succeed at something. At anything. It doesn’t have to be a big thing but choose something. I’m going to, and I don’t want to be the only one doing scary, hard things.

Jessica Peters

The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.