The Nineteen Nineties. An era of portable cd players, cell phones, the Spice Girls, Power Rangers, Stretch Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Wonderbras, jelly shoes (oh yeahhh), slap bracelets, Tamagatchis, and Bill Clinton. But to me, there was nothing better in the 90’s than chasing beef cattle and shooting cow pies with BB guns with my cousins, at my grandparents’ farm, down the road from where I grew up in Wisconsin. And the kittens. Don’t even get me started with those darn barn kittens (no pun intended)! They were potentially the cutest, most energetic, balls of fluff that I have ever laid eyes upon. And I made it my mission to devise a strategy convincing my parents to allow me to adopt each and every single one of them. (Reality check #1: My adoption success rate was 0%).
Anywhoot, chasing cows and playing with kittens were the defining moments in my life when I decided that I was going to become a veterinarian. So, I went to Cornell to become a veterinarian. And here I am, two decades later, a Cornell graduate on the path to becoming a veterinarian! …Reality check #2: My career focus ultimately changed directions, and as a result I will never be called “DVM Molly.” 5 year-old Molly would NEVER have been okay with that, but over time I have accepted the fact that veterinary medicine is just not the correct fit for me because #1) Dogs are not always friendly, #2) I am far too outgoing/I can’t keep my mouth shut and I would rather talk to people all day than perform surgeries, and #3) I am really really REALLY good at arguing, especially when I get fired up about something that I am passionate about. And I am extremely passionate about agriculture, particularly the dairy industry.
My passion began at a very young age, because of those experiences running around at my grandparents’ farm. They further sparked my interest in showing dairy cattle through 4-H (yes, including the full white get-up) , studying agriculture in college, and now pursuing a Master’s degree and career in dairy policy/public affairs on Capitol Hill. This was all made possible because my family understood the value of ethics, hard work, and dedication. At 23, I am proud to say that I have been shaped into an independent, confident, and goal-oriented woman within dairy advocacy. And I am ever so thankful. My grandfather, my greatest role model, may no longer be living, but I know that he is watching over me and he could not be any prouder that I am pursuing my dreams in the dairy industry, an industry that will always be a part of him and his legacy.
My family’s 7th generation family farm is no longer in operation, and what better way to share our family legacy with others than by having a grand ‘ole rummage sale?! So, that happened. And here is a wonderful story, by the Ozaukee Press: http://www.ozaukeepress.com/home/49-feature-1/4471-a-farmhouse-full-of-memories.
Back to the main point of this blog: I recently moved back to Wisconsin after living in New York State and New Jersey for the past five years. Last week, my parents, grandma, and I had a typical “let’s-sit-outside-and-talk-about-current-happenings-in-life-and-share-old-time-memories” kind of day at the farm, and as I was sitting across from the pasture I couldn’t help but ponder all of the wonderful experiences that I had there growing up in the 90’s, and the extreme positive affects that they had not only on my career path, but also on me as a human being. Spending that peaceful afternoon (okay, semi-peaceful…it was like 1800 degrees outside) on the farm reminded me that no matter where I travel to, no matter where I live, and no matter where my career path takes me in the future, home will ALWAYS be where my heart is. And my heart will remain at the farm. Because it made me who I am, and it also taught me who I want to be. Never EVER (in a million bazillion years) forget who you are or where you came from. And THAT is my advice of the day.