Happy New Year! Let's NOT make it the best ever.
“Don't be the best in town. Just be the best till the best comes around.”
Happy New Year, everyone!
On this very last day of the year before we roll into all the newness, I'd like to share the above thought from a nationally-renowned musician. You know, as is the normal tradition.
Tonight, when Moon Dog Farms tilts a champagne flute at midnight and pretends to know the words to "Auld Lang Syne," we'll be toasting to a year of new adventure, gratitude for all we have, and this little gem of an idea.
The sentiment rings particularly interesting when uttered by one of the most prodigious blues legends to walk the earth, but that's exactly what I find so absolutely glorious about it. The story goes that young Buddy's parents gave him this advice when he informed them he'd be pursuing a career as a musician. They then told him in no uncertain terms that there would be someone better than him. He should work hard, sure---he should be the best. But he should go forward knowing he'll never be able to do it all, be everything, and that 'the best' would always be someone who came after him.
In my opinion, this is one of the most freeing ideas one could ever embrace. Do your best, man. Work hard, woman, and work to be the best you can be. Try to up your numbers from last year and double your potato yields. Teach more people, feed more people, reach more people. But—and this is the wise, zen-like part I find so intoxicating—you'll be happier if you remember that this world's too big and great for there to be one best.
Dubbing something or someone the best is ephemeral, just like everything else in this world. Not only is there room enough for new ideas, new leaders and new heroes all the time, we need them. Your day will be so much better if you embrace that you're all working to do good work—you can even ask for their help and learn from their experience. Innovation and inspiration are driven by trying to do things better. There is no different or better without the new blues man who waltzes into town with his own way to string a guitar. And thank the gods for that.
Perhaps this philosophy sounds like setting low expectations in order to avoid disappointment, all at the expense of achieving newer and greater heights. So I won't claim that Buddy Guy's folks had it right for everyone. But in 2015, I think it's right for us.
We will work so damn hard, we will play (easy, not hard) and we will triumph as well as fail. We won't try to be the best farm in town, on instagram or in North America—we'll leave that to someone else, and we wouldn't get anywhere worth getting trying to do it anyway. Successful farming requires too much humility in the face of bigger forces (stinkbugs, blizzards, federal law) to worry too much about winning national adoration.
Instead, we'll try to be the best Moon Dog Farms of 2015.
Better than we were in 2014. And in 2016, we'll try for the best that year. And as for the multitudes of other farms around, we'd rather be friends than competitors. Drinking that sunset beer at the end of a work day is so much better when it's shared.
I warm towards the idea of a New Year's resolution that lifts any self-imposed burdens common to the ever-reaching, tirelessly-martyring A+ student. What a bore.
As a recovering teacher's pet, I vow to cast aside—nay, rip to shreds—the how-to booklet for setting yourself up to feel like there's always more you could've done. Because it's true.
There's always more we can do, there's always someone who might do it better, and we'll never get it perfect. Oh, along the way we'll do marvelous, magical things. But it'll never be the best.
But you know why? That's because you and me—we're working smarter this year.
We're working to be the best until the best comes around.
*Colossal, ever-loving thanks to Buddy Guy's parents, the episode of Sonic Highways where we heard this quote, and to every single person who supports us in our endeavors. We're so lucky to be here, and to know so many loving, giving people. Keep up the good work in your own lives--we think you're the BEST! :)