Some people that have called me in the past few years will hear me answer the phone in one of three ways. The first is the casual “hello”. The second, if someone is more familiar with me is “go for Bart”. The third I reserve for family which is a throw back to when I grew up in Wyoming and worked at a couple ranches as a youth and young adult. “Lesco Ranch” is the greeting that will usually be given. Why do I do that? I am not sure. I guess I always wanted to be a rancher that owned lots of land and livestock. I have friends that live in Wyoming that are living the life that would probably say one of two things. Either “Are you nuts?” or “Your not cut out for it, Greenhorn”.
Two years ago my wife asked me what I thought of raising chickens. I told her no, everyone else has chickens and when I was young I did not enjoy cleaning the chicken coop or fighting with the hen over who was going to get the eggs. Only to find that the egg that I was fighting for was covered in poop. I am not opposed to raising livestock, and chickens are probably the easiest form of livestock to care for. But based on prior experience, and because we knew people that were doing it, I was not interested. Something about me does not like to do what other people are doing. This is true of everything in my life. I don’t plagiarize, not for ethical reasons, but because that is someone else’s ideas (okay I do have some scruples, ethics does play a part in it). I don’t like using recipes, and if I do I hardly ever do it the way that it is written.
Then about a year ago my wife asked me what I thought of raising ducks. Now this interested me, I had never raised ducks before, and no one else was raising ducks that I knew of. So I looked into it. The more I looked into it the more I thought it would be fun, and hopefully at the very least, not lose us any money through egg production. So now I am a duck farmer, a term that my teenage self would have scoffed at and maybe thrown an empty Mountain Dew can at.
That made me think about the terms that I use to define myself. As a teenager I honestly always new that the terms husband, father, Christian would be part of my life. I was born with son, brother, grandson, male. But today I find that there are terms that I use to define me that my teenage self would have never seen coming, and as I stated before, would have possibly laughed at. Pastor, mountain biker, duck farmer, renter. The term that my wife uses to define me on her cell phone is “lover”, I like that one. But today I am less concerned about what my teenage self would think of me today, that guy was an idiot. Not to say that the terms that I use today are the greatest in some cases. There is a part of me that is not okay renting a home. I was always told that you should own your own home. But I have to tell you, I love where I live.
There is a real problem with listening to your younger self in order to define who you are. Not only is it asking a teenager to define you, it is allowing someone other than yourself to define you. That person, for me, no longer exists. And like I stated before, he was an idiot.