I’m a bit late, but Fall is too great of a season to not acknowledge. And I felt it’d be appropriate to mention the change since I started this venture on the summer cusp.
Time is speeding up. This seems to be the general consensus among most of those I ask. “Is it just me, or is time gong faster?” Is how the conversation starts. “I remember growing up it seemed like each season lasted forever.” And on it goes, until we realize we sound like the stereotypical grandparent who “had to walk two miles in the snow”.
Now, it seems as if within a blink I’m getting ready for the next change. I still didn’t even move all my winter clothes into storage when it warmed up and now it seems like that was a good idea.
My last month of summer has been incredibly busy. Full of fighting injustices in the legal system and outrageous doctors fees. I’m not exactly trying to make an excuse for my lack of writing (read: i was legitimately too tired to try to write a complete post). After all, I did feel guilty so many weeks have lapsed and had started several posts without seeing them through to frutition. (Note- this post was first drafted on 9/17!)
Which led me to feel guilty.
But thankfully, things have normalized. Work hours are relatively stable. I’ve restarted running to keep some sense of balance.
My tip for times like these? Try to find something in your life you can rely on when stress hits the fan. Maybe it’s exercise. Or art. Or sky diving. But even when it seems impossible to take 5 minutes out of an insane day for yourself and you feel guilty just thinking about taking time for yourself, do it.
If you don’t take a few moments for your Self, the result will likely be burnout. Which can lead to depression and other serious health issues. Reexamine your to-do list and make the time to have some time.
This is Winston aka Winston Harvey, our six month old Australian Shepard. Three months ago, on a somewhat spontaneous whim, he became a member of our ohana.
Why am I showing you a picture of my pup? (Why not!) Yes, I like showing off his cute-ness. But Winston became a member of our family for three main reasons: to help in my quest for happiness, to be my running partner, and to be certified as a therapy dog.
Still wondering what my dog has to do with you? Well, after being a self-proclaimed cat-lady my entire life I decided to take the plunge and get a pup thinking all those negative things people say about puppy-raising was a bunch of bologna. I had heard about how the benefits of dog-ownership outweigh the bad, often frustrating aspects of raising a puppy. And while I am still a crazy cat-lady and love my almost-seven-year-old-MaineCoon-named-Oliver, I am a proud-often-tired-but-relearning-the-simple-things dog lady too.
Regardless, in the last three months Winston has taught me A LOT. Some of his insights are quintessentially simple, but easily overlooked in our regular everyday lives. Luckily, I now have him as a constant reminder. So what can you learn from Winston (or any pup)?
Life is Exciting: Dogs get excited over just about everything. Why? It doesn’t really matter! The point is, you are alive and that in itself is worth boosting your mood.
Use your Senses: Pups don’t just go through the motions of life. They devour it, they sniff it out, they listen to everything, they touch to understand. Their world, like ours, is sensory-based-except they don’t ignore them!
Enjoy the Moment: Dogs fully utilize their five senses to be in the moment. They’re not plotting their next move to get ahead at work, or thinking about what’s for dinner. They’re lavishing your affection and happily chewing on the new stick they just found.
Don’t Over Think It: Remember, a dog’s life is all about each existing minute. He’s not sitting there and making a pro/con list. He’s doing something if he likes it or running away from it if he doesn’t! Sometimes in life we need to just act!
Get Outside: Dogs thrive off of fresh air and daily walks. And as living creatures, we humans do too! We spend too much of our day cooped up in poorly ventilated, claustrophobic spaces while we turn a pasty shade of pale. Get some (safe, sun-screened) sunlight! Breathe the fresh air!
Learn From Your Mistakes And Move On: It might take a dog a few times while initially training, but once learned you can bet he won’t keep making the same mistake! Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Live, learn, and let go!
Smile: Yes, this kind of falls into all of the above categories but smiling deserves its own section! At the end of my long day, watching Winston trip over his own feet and not being able to stop himself from running into a wall gives me a big enough chuckle to help shake off the day’s stress. As an added bonus, smiling leads to laughing which is a natural, easy way to work out those abs!
Sleep: Take it from Winston, who manages to arrange himself on his pillow in the weirdest ways and has the capacity to pass out anywhere: it doesn’t matter how you accommodate yourself between your sheets and amongst your pillows. What matters is getting enough rest to energize you for your next day. And when the next morning comes, you remember just that- it is a new day! Yesterday’s drama should stay stuck in yesterday.
Am I advising you to go out and buy a dog? Definitely not! Bringing a dog into your home is a much bigger responsibility than I would have ever believed. And despite their cute faces, getting a puppy will not change you or your habits if you are naturally on the lazy side, having a dog will not necessarily motivate you to take that 30 minute power walk every day and you will be making empty promises to yourself and your dog. (Remember, motivation comes from within!)
But if you have any kind of pet, take a few moments each day and examine how they live their life. Watch their cues. And learn to live off of the “bare necessities”.