Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.
I just don’t feel up to it
When we returned from vacation last month, Honey was down for a couple of days.
Her appetite was good. She showed no signs of illness or pain. But she looked like her spirits were a bit low.
Was it because the house she returned to smelled of floor finish and none of the rooms were arranged as usual (we had the floors refinished in our absence)? Or was it because Honey could no longer count on us being around throughout the day because we had to return to work?
Whatever the reason, we ramped back on our training activities to give her a break. It’s hard to develop confidence and learn new things when you’re not feeling your best.
Even if we hadn’t spent less time training, I think Honey would have been reluctant to train.
Honey is very eager to please. But if we had pushed her, I think she would have been kind enough to herself to do a lousy job training until we would have given up in frustration.
She likes to make us happy. But Honey is no fool.
Pet bloggers are mean
To themselves, I mean. To everyone else, they are angels of mercy.
People who go out in the middle of the night because they hear an injured cat, spend hours trying to find lost dogs, and each week, encourage people they’ve never met in real life can really beat themselves up.
Bloggers feel bad for
- not reading and commenting on more blogs
- responding too slowly to awards and comments made about their blogs
- missing writing about an important animal welfare cause
- and basically, just not being perfect every day in every way.
If you heard my talk at BlogPaws or read the presentation Making Time to Blog over at the BlogPaws Community, you’ll find no magic tricks to make your day last longer so you can get more done. Instead, I share the tough news that you can’t do everything and you’ll have to make some choices.
The message I tried to leave behind with the people who heard my talk was that every one of them was already amazing, already doing incredible things, and already managing their time better than most other people on the planet.
It’s the message I also need to hear myself. Beating ourselves up for not doing more or doing things better never made anyone more productive or more awesome.
Honey has never read the Bible. She does not practice meditation. She doesn’t listen to self-help books on tape. But somehow she’s learned to be kind to herself.
When it’s hot, she lies down on the cool floor in a shady spot and rests. When her spirits are low, she doesn’t push to make all kinds of awesome advances in her training. When she needs comfort, she sits beside me with her head on my knee.
I’ve never once caught Honey writing a “to do” list or expressing guilt that she didn’t run better zoomies or eat her dinner more neatly.
I could use a dose of Honey’s self- kindness. And I bet you could too.
There are all kinds of smart, productive, and ambitious things I could do today. Things that would impress other people. But I think I’m going to spend it puttering around the house, bringing a little neatness and order to my life. Having a clean house is a gift I don’t often give myself although I work harder to give it to visitors.