One of my best friends recently got a new puppy. Her name is Daisy, and she's a loving, adorable dog. She's very affectionate and friendly...but she's also crazy. She has a kind of wild excitement about her that only goes away when she's fast asleep.
I often go along with Scott when he walks her, sometimes even taking the "reigns" and holding her leash. She, like my baby boy Charlie at home, will pull on the leash, straining herself against the collar around her neck until she is out of breath, gasping for air, nearly choking herself. She never lets up, but by the end of the walk, she attempts to stop at every nasty, stagnant puddle along the way to get a much-needed drink. We hope eventually she'll associate her pulling on the leash as the cause for her exhaustion and dehydration, but as of yet, she continues to pull as hard as she can, attempting to go forward as fast as she can, a wild excitement her motivation.
It's really easy to look at Daisy and think, "Wow. She is really stupid. If she had any brain at all, she would quit blocking her airway and just slow up a little bit."
Not that I'm comparing myself to a few labrador retreivers....okay. Yes I am. I am no different than that over-enthusiastic creature, pulling on the leash and collar around my own neck. I know that if I would just slow down and stop pulling I wouldn't have the problems that I do, yet my nature is to forge ahead, barrel through everything as if life were a race. There is so much I want, so much I want to do and see, that all I notice is what's in front, the things ahead of me. I can't look around what's happening right now.
Daisy is very affectionate. She is rarely aggressive toward people, and will jump up and lick whomever she encounters with a wild abandon. She loves being around people, especially the people that take care of her on a daily basis. She will crawl up and over Scott's and Alex's necks, nestling in to sniff and lick their ears and face lovingly. She will interrupt a person, whether they are exercising, folding laundry, cooking, or just playing a video game, and beg for attention and a scratch behind the ears. Often, however, she is simply content with chewing away at a rawhide bone or pouncing on one of her favorite toys while we all watch a movie or talk together in the living room. If she is left outside on her own, she will whine and bark until she is either accompanied, or realizes that she's stuck out there for a while. She will mull around the yard, vaguely sniffing here and there, but always keeping an eye and ears on the door.
I can't help but compare myself to the six-month-old puppy, now, as I sit on the couch in my apartment, alone, not in the best of moods, surly and discontent. Most of the time, I love company. Often, I'm very particular about who I want to share that company with, but I enjoy a companion most of the time. Usually, that companion is Alex, naturally. Alex's personality is not that of a six-month-old puppy. Perhaps it's just because he likes them so much, but I see Alex's animal likeness as a turtle. A turtle who enjoys some attention, but is best when left alone to bask on its own, doing as it pleases in its own time, independent to a point.
I chomp at the bit all the time, running forward, dragging others along behind me, namely Alex, as I try to get to whatever it is I want. What I see and what I want is always changing, and every time something new comes along I fly towards it with a wild abandon, choking and stumbling when those around me aren't quite keeping up pace.
I jump up and shower him with affection, and when I'm pushed down and away I feel hurt. When I'm left alone, like now, cranky and whiny, I can do nothing but check my phone, like the dog staring at the door, both ears raised hopefully, eyes big and sad.
I can't help but be hurt. I know it's not meant to cause harm, or to make me feel bad. I mean, when was the last time you've seen a turtle get all emotional because it was left alone for a few hours? Yeah, never. It would be joyfully swimming around its pond, nibbling on some greens, or basking in the rays of the sun. It doesn't hate company, nor does it dislike attention....it is just self-sufficient and happy on its own.
It's like I have to train myself. I know that pulling on the leash is hurting me, and I know that being left alone doesn't mean abandonment, or that I'm not cared for. Regardless of intentions and reasons, I can't help what I feel. I can't help but be upset, waiting with my ears and eyes for the call that says I'm wanted, needed, appreciated.
This is just how my life is. Running, running, running. I know I should slow down. I know that if I stop expecting to reach that unknown goal, I will breathe more easily and will enjoy myself more. I know I won't constantly have to stop and make-do with little puddles of happiness and fulfillment.
I should stop wanting things that I don't have, and start being happy with the things that I do. Nothing will ever be perfect, but I have what I need, and that is comfort enough.