You Can’t Live in a Bubble

January 11, 2011 at 7:32 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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A few weeks ago, on Christmas Eve in fact, my dog was playing ball in our yard.  My boy is a Labrador retriever who literally lives for ball.  Where ever he is, you are likely to find a tennis ball not too far away.  When he plays, he puts his all into it, making very dramatic catches that rival any outfielder.  So when we threw the ball to him on this day, and it rolled into a pipe that protrudes out of the grass, it’s not surprising that he went at it like he was in a race against time.  Unfortunately, it was not a happy meeting of pipe and dog face.  The dog was left with a cracked and bleeding canine tooth, and the pipe (believe it or not) has a nice scrape on it forever marking this day.

This is not the first time my boy has gotten hurt, and like any parent of human or animal kin can tell you, it kills you when your child is hurt.  With dogs, it’s even harder because they don’t understand why it hurts and they don’t complain.  They just try to keep going as if nothing ever happened.  But it’s very obvious when your boy can’t even pick up the ball that he so adores.

This dog has been through a lot.  He’s been bitten twice by other dogs, slammed into many walls, fallen off the bed when he least expected it.  He’s become less submissive when dogs approach him and start bothering him, but when he hears other dogs barking in their yards as we walk by, his fur still stands up in fear.

When we finally got him to the doctor (bad timing for an accident with the holidays), we learned that he would have to get the tooth removed.  The doctor said that this particular tooth was designed specifically to kill game on a hunt, and clearly my dog would never have to work that hard.  His response to our rant about how this dog is always getting into something — “You can’t live in a bubble.”

This is a hard fact for any parent to take in.  Aren’t parents’ jobs to protect their young?  So in terms of my boy, I will continue to try to protect him as best I can.  But I took this lesson to heart for myself.  You can’t be afraid to do things that you love, or that seem fun.  I continue to fight my fears of doing things I’ve never done before, and probably will for the rest of my life — not so much for fear of getting physically hurt, but for fear of getting emotionally hurt through humiliation.

Dogs don’t get humiliated.  They get happy, tired, jealous, excited, angry, and sad, with happy being the default emotion.  But they do get hurt.  We all get hurt, sometimes.  If we could all go on with the same attitude as my boy and keep on chugging along, doing our best to do the things we love, we will all live happier lives.

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A Few Blog Highlights from 2010

December 28, 2010 at 7:50 am | Posted in Career Moves, Family Ties, Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Relationship Woes | 2 Comments
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What a year it’s been.  I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was this time last year, and about all the good things 2010 brought me.  For one thing, I started this blog, and I’ve truly enjoyed sharing my experiences with all of you.  I’ve gotten to know bloggers and fans from all over the world, and I’ve become increasingly dedicated to this creative outlet.

But even before I started blogging this past April, I was in a serious mode of change.  I started a new job on March 1, and my brother got married on March 14.  Looking forward into 2011, I will become an aunt for the first time.  Not everything in my life is perfect, but the positives have been big ones.  I wonder what else 2011 has in store for me.

So without further ado, I wanted to give you some highlights from 2010 as seen through this blog.

1. Breaking up is Hard to Do – My first popular post.  This post was about my ex-boyfriend, and even though we broke up  more than 3 years ago, this post drew a lot of attention.  Of course, at the time, my blog was new, so readers were likely people who knew me who thought I broke up with my current boyfriend.  People love drama!  If you didn’t get to read this and you are going through or considering a break up, this post may be cathartic for you.

2. Woman’s Best Friend and I Don’t Mean Chocolate this Time – I introduced you all to my heart and soul in this post.  My lovely labrador retriever. I never had a dog growing up, so getting a dog when I was 23 was a major growing experience.  My dog has taught me how to enjoy to simple things in life and has taught me the meaning of unconditional love.  You can expect more posts about him in 2011 as he surprises me everyday.

3. Becoming Domesticated – I talked about living on my own, one of the biggest challenges of growing up.  I’ve lived on my own  for almost 4 years now and I’m still getting it together.  But the biggest change in my living arrangements in 2010 was when my boyfriend moved in with me this summer. I hope to bring more good news about our living situation in 2011, and I’m sure there will be some learning experiences to share along the way.

4. Divorcing Friends – I talked a lot about friends this past year, and I’m sure this will continue to be a hot topic for me as situations continue to change and consequently, relationships with friends.

5. Time Flies When you Love What You Do – I talked a lot about my career, something I am proud of.  I love what I do and I’ve worked hard to continue to offer my skills to the world in support of the greater good.  I have serious career goals, and I hope to inspire people with my experiences as I work to reach them.  It may be a bumpy road with a few more set backs, but I am still determined to succeed.

6. From Player to Prude – I talked about my changing perspective on relationships.  My 20s have looked very different than my teens did in this area and it’s interesting to see how my attitude has changed towards it. But I don’t want to forget how I once felt about things like this as one day I might have a daughter who needs a mother to relate to her as she sifts through her relationships.

As a teenager, I always kept a notebook so that I would remember how I felt and what I went through when I was young, so that when I was a mother I’d be able to support my children and help them make the best decisions they can.  Writing this blog has helped me to continue this process at another crossroads in my life that I think is important to remember.

Another year closer to thirty, another year closer to trying to reach my goals, and adjusting when life throws me a curveball.  Another year of realizing who I am, who I’m going to be, and what the world, and life, is really about.

Overcoming Fears – Lessons Learned from my Dog

November 2, 2010 at 7:39 am | Posted in Life and Living | 3 Comments
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When my labrador was just a year old, I took him to a park on the Hudson River to play with my friend’s dog. It’s not technically a dog park, but nobody bothered us.  The dogs had a ball running around like dogs do, until my dog ended up in the water. I somehow missed the split second when this happened, so I don’t know if he fell in or jumped in, but it was the first time he ever swam.  I was so proud! It was only later that I would learn that this experience would be the last time I’d ever see my water dog swim… or so I thought.

Over the next three years I would take him to open swims at the local pool and he would never go near the water. You couldn’t make him.  During the summer, when lawns (and subsequently, sidewalks) were watered by sprinklers, he’d actually cross over to the other side of me so he wouldn’t get wet.  Surely my labrador retriever, bred for hunting and swimming, wasn’t afraid of the water!  But he was.  That’s until just recently, when my father discovered a stream down a path, a quarter mile behind our local dog park.  My father took him off the leash, and he showed us where it was, making sure he could see us at all times, and in he went!

Now, we can’t keep him out of the water. Last night, I get a phone call from my boyfriend telling me the dog has jumped into the Bronx River. Who does this dog think he is?

Here’s what I learned from this.  You can overcome your fears, but you cannot be pushed.  It needs to happen naturally, and the comfort level needs to be just right. And once you face your fears, you may fall in love with something you were once afraid of.

What’s interesting about fears, is that they evolve with age. As a child, you may be afraid of learning new things like riding a bike, or of things that don’t exist like monsters.  As an adult, you may be afraid of walking home from the train station alone late at night, or flying.  Most people will always be afraid of something, whether it’s a rational fear or not.  I don’t think anyone is completely fearless, though I know there’s always an exception to every rule.  While it can’t be expected that you will get over all of your fears, you can get over some, if you really want to.  But you also have to know your limits.  Deep down, you know what you can handle and what you can’t, and only push your limits when you it seems right.

And when you need a little inspiration, think about the dog who was afraid of the water, and how proud his owners were when he overcame his fear.

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