It's Harvest Season and 2020 Is A Bad Year - What Should You Do?

Updated: Oct 4

We've finally reached this beautiful fall season of the year, that's turned out for most of us, to be the strangest, most unpredictable of our lifetime. COVID-19 has been as relentless as the buildup to the long awaited 2020 presidential election. We're living in unusual times, and we can't wait for them to end.

Fortunately, the return of fall, brings the return of a few familiar comforts: cool mornings fade into dark, balmy nights. Cardinals and bluejays that recently gathered around the bird feeder, make their way south. Farmers reap the reward of the seeds they've tended all year long, and markets overflow with greens lettuces, hot cider and bright orange pumpkins. When you think about it, fall is normally a really good season.

The Season of Harvest

Of course, before "fall" came to be known by its name, this time of year was called the "harvest season." Since the early days, every farmer in the land looked forward to yielding a bountiful harvest, but unfortunately not every harvest produced a crop worthy of the storied harvest-time celebrations. After a great deal of expense, time and labor, crops often failed, triggering famine and human migration.

This year, while some people are enjoying a harvest from the seeds they've sown all year through, many find themselves in the midst of crop failure. Some hold regret over seeds they never planted and others, in spite of their best efforts, find themselves facing unemployment and personal and financial stress. As of fall 2020, 18+ million adults in America are unemployed, and countless businesses have gone under. Students have earned coveted degrees and find that their job offers have been revoked, and thousands upon thousands of hard-working people have been laid off. What do you say when there's no turnaround in sight? For people who have worked hard, this is supposed to be the season of harvest.

Do You Reap What You Sow?

No matter what religion or walk of life, we've all been taught some version or another of "you reap what you sow." While it's true that hard work over time typically produces results, it's equally true that sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes you don't get what you've worked for and deserve. While 2020 proves on its own that you don't always actually reap what you sow in the same year, I like to think it doesn't disprove the entire idea that over time, with patience, you will finally reap.

So, if you ask me whether I think that "you reap what you sow" is true, I'll say that the answer lies in the reason behind your sowing. Are you sowing seeds to gain power or to be envied or admired for material things or are you sowing to use your personality, intelligence and talents in a way that will be useful, purposeful and free? If your answer is the latter, then yes, I think you'll reap what you sow.

It's Never Too Late to Start Sowing Good Seed

While fall is the main harvest season, farmers actually plant different types of crops all year round. In fact, right now, farmers are planting kale, collards, peas and root vegetables because they're hearty enough to survive cold winters.

Plant now. You might have missed out on the last opportunity, but it doesn't mean that you can't land one tomorrow. Sure, you could've started working out last month, but you can begin today. So, your skills need refreshing: sign up for the training you need. Yes, I know you need a new job. Start networking, reconnect with former colleagues and ask them for help, reach out to recruiters, test your new business idea, improve your skills while you wait. Got it. The application deadline just passed. Ask for an extension or be early for the next open period. Stressed out? Ask for help. Simplify. Make your quiet time. Set your good, useful and purposeful intention, and begin.

Sometimes you have to start over. Crops don't grow overnight. Don't know which way to go? What makes you useful, purposeful and free? Where does the best of your personality, interests and skills intersect? Head that direction.

The Importance of Belief In Yourself and the Process

"The farmer has patience and trusts the process. He just has the faith and deep understanding that through his daily efforts, the harvest will come. And then one day, almost out of nowhere, it does." Canadian Writer Robin Sharma
"Farmers only worry during the growing season, but townspeople worry all the time." American Writer, E.W. Howe

Once you've done all you can do, once you've prepared and taken advantage of the time and opportunities before you, rest. Find pleasure in every day: the sun, the rain, a walk among the trees, a song, a breeze, a quiet cup of tea. And then breathe. Because despite all we wish we had, wish we could've done, or wish we could change, life itself is a harvest. Each day we get to live and breathe is a bounty.

"The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched." Essayist, poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau    

If you can't resist these harvest quotes, visit

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© 2020 by Shai Littlejohn

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