Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chelsey Smith delivers State Secretary's retiring address



Cultivate a Sustainable Life

You shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry. You are not allowed to dance, apply makeup and drive simultaneously. When making a turn you have to turn into the closest lane to you. Hunting really does mean silence. Belly flops are NEVER a good idea. My favorite:  you really can’t go out into public looking like that. The most needed: It’s 100% okay to be you all the time. The times when you struggle the most are when you will grow the most.  The list of things I wish someone would have told me goes on for eternity ranging anywhere from simple probably common sense things to not so concrete more abstract concepts about liking yourself and accepting what happens in your life.  We have all had that time in our lives when we have done something that didn’t turn out so great and thought “dang, I wish someone would have told me that before.”  
    I am going to name off several things, I want us to think to ourselves if any of these have ever applied to our lives.  
You have ever felt lost with the direction of your life?
You have ever felt like you were struggling?
You have ever felt like you were uncertain about where you will be next?
Ladies and gentleman I could have stood up and waved my hands around for all three of those questions.  Truth is I feel horribly uncertain about not having a direction for my life and usually feel like I am riding the continual struggle bus because of this.
News flash: Uncertainty, struggle and lack of direction are all normal things to experience and most everyone experiences them at some point in their life or another. In order to sustain ourselves as people we have to be okay with who we are and trust all of the struggles that we may go through.  
In high school I was literally known as the girl with brown curly hair who had really good grades and spent most of her time in the ag room.  . I rarely ever allowed myself to be who I am, unless I was in the ag room.  I believe that there was a reason I enjoyed being in the ag room as much as I did because it was the one place where I felt I wasn’t being judged for being who I am
If there is one thing that was repeated to me as a state officer candidate one year ago it was to be myself.  So when I ran for state office I made the first step and was truly myself the entire week. I wanted to be able to serve Kansas FFA the entire year in the same manner that I was elected. I have been nothing more than myself all year long and it has been more than worth it.  
Enthusiastic, bubbly, bold, unique and CRAZY are the words my team mates used to describe me and quite frankly all are perfect descriptors.  Over the last two years at college I have really grown into me. Note the time at a state officer meeting when I gave an entire overly enthusiastic reflection response related to Harry Potter and how I used a lot of the spells and wand to tie into something related to personal growth, or how about all of the times when I just tell it like it is. But usually it is my rather unfashionable dance moves while driving to an event.  
I absolutely love who I am and the fact that some of the closest people in my life, my team mates can accurately describe how I feel about myself.  Whatever it may be I know that I am the happiest person in the world when I am just me.  
    As cliché as it may be we really do just need to embrace who we are as a person and where we are at the point in time in our lives.  If we can be okay with who we, are whether we are loony, clever, hilarious, generous, popular, serious, or wise we will be able to move on with our lives.  Knowing that we are happy with one’s self is a prerequisite to finding happiness with other things in our lives. Accepting where we are at in our lives at this time is the essential element in being happy with ourselves.
    What words describe you?  Are you crazy, loud, energetic, quiet, relaxed, simple, or elaborate? More importantly are you okay with who you are? If not, maybe it is because we haven’t accepted the truth that it is perfectly okay to be who you are, good and bad qualities combined.  Or maybe it is because we are afraid what people might actually think about us.  Have no fear we have all been there.  Think about who you truly are as a person. Now think about the things that you really like about yourself. Build upon the things you like about yourself, maybe it is that you are genuine, and compassionate, or maybe you are loud and enthusiastic. Take the characteristics you like and show them to the rest of the world.  Be 100 percent okay with who you are.  You are the only you, there will ever be. Be the best one you can possibly be.
Once we accept who we are as a person and can express that to the rest of the world.  Accepting ourselves makes it much easier to accept and handle situations that may arise in our lives.  
After spending countless hours, and I mean more than 30, answering questions, responding to essays, and editing my resume and cover letter I had successfully applied to five internships or jobs that I really wanted.  So when I opened my first email informing me that I hadn’t been selected for the position but that they really appreciated my application I was disappointed, but optimistic one of the other opportunities would work out.  So the second, third and fourth rejection letters came and went.  I was still hopeful, the application I worked the hardest on was awaiting a reply. Unfortunately you were not selected as a participant but we thank you for your application, have a safe and productive summer.   I have honestly never experienced so much rejection in a short amount of time.  I have always been used to getting whatever I applied for.  I worked extremely hard on the applications and really thought that all of the opportunities were what I wanted to do with my summer and pursue as a future career.  
Not achieving what I set my sites on really brought me down and made me doubt my abilities as a person.  So I may not be going to Africa this summer or working in St. Joseph Missouri with the American Angus Association but I am the nanny for two very special children this summer who I believe have already changed the way I look at life.  Dr. Suess’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers, Eminem was a high school dropout who had personal struggles with drugs that led to an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Steve Jobs was unceremoniously removed from the company he started.  Everyone, even extremely successful people goes through times when it would be extremely easy to give up and never try again.  
Regardless of how long we may think we have been on the struggle bus we just need to trust that if we continue to work hard things will get better.  We just have to trust that our struggle is going to be worth it someday and that it will help us grow and develop into the people we are destined to become.  
What are we struggling with right now it might be school, work, family, or personal? How can we allow our struggle help us to grow in the future?  Maybe we ended the school year with grades we weren’t so proud of or maybe we are having a hard time finding our friend group.  We need to continue to try and move forward regardless if we are experiencing setbacks. Without perseverance most of us would have never enjoyed the book “Oh, the places you will go” the song “Lose Yourself” would never have been played, and most likely we wouldn’t have the infamous iPhone or iPad. No matter what is going in our lives on we are learning something from it and we will benefit from the experience in the future.  And to me anything learned never went waste.  
In the history of agriculture there have been many times when agriculturalists were uncertain, struggled with the weather or conditions and technology and lacked of direction for the future of production.  Throughout the years they have truly stuck to what they have believed in; feeding themselves and others, and they managed to deal to it all the while going through the great depression and the current drought we are facing in the Midwest.  Without agriculture we wouldn’t be able to be sustained.  When I say that I literally mean that we wouldn’t’ be able to live without agriculture.  If we can apply how agriculture has sustained itself to our lives we can sustain ourselves by accepting who we are and knowing that all of the hard times we ever went through will one day be worth it.  Life isn’t always peaches and roses, in fact sometimes it’s cow poop and barbed wire but if we can choose to be us and embrace the struggles we might face we will be sustained for the future.  Kansas FFA truly be you in each and every moment and trust the struggles you are going through.

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