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.
It Must Be Love.
Shortly before Honey came to live with us, our neighbors on the cross street got a Golden Retriever. When Riley (that’s his name) is out in the yard, we can see him from our yard. I admired him every day while we were waiting for Honey.
When Honey was a puppy, she didn’t really understand that Riley was so close. He saw her through the fence but she didn’t see him. But, as part of her socialization, we introduced the two.
Honey enjoys frolicking with Riley.
Now that she’s older, Honey spots Riley in his yard from our bedroom window and barks out a greeting. Of, if they’re outside at the same time, she’ll look longingly at him from her perch on the back porch.
Although we’ve been unable to take Honey to the dog park since we gave up the car, she’s never forgotten how much fun it is to play with a canine friend. And even though we don’t usually see Riley walking around the neighborhood, she always remembers the fun times she’s had with him and never gives up hope for the next play date. She holds on to her heart’s desire.
Searching for the Good Life.
Every job I’ve had started with me reading a description and then saying, “I could do that.” You couldn’t so much say that I’ve had a career path as I’ve had a career meandering.
My heart’s desire has been to have a good life: one where I can support myself doing something I enjoy and spend my non-working time doing other things that are meaningful and interesting. My job is only one piece of that life.
Several years ago, I started a business I called Spiral House. I taught personal writing workshops to encourage people to explore their lives and ideas through journaling. I loved the creativity. I loved teaching workshops. I loved the “aha” moments people experienced when they broke through barriers and came to new ideas.
I ended Spiral House when I needed better paying work to help support an ill family member. I was lucky to find work I could be proud of with a nonprofit that continues to have a major impact on our community.
But I continue to be drawn toward work that is entrepreneurial and creative. And I yearn to integrate work into my life in a way that makes sense, is flexible, and allows time for lots of different life experiences. I don’t understand the path I need to take yet. But I’m holding on to my heart’s desire.
A Dog’s Heart Desire
At the core of Honey’s being is a desire to be social with a variety of people and dogs. Nothing lights her up more.
And, since she can’t just up and go for a walk when she needs a little company, it’s up to us to give her the chances for friendship she needs.
Last weekend, my husband arranged a play date for Honey and Riley. They had a great time. We need to build it into our regular schedule.
Honey makes her desires quite obvious. I just need to remember to respect them and give her opportunities to experience them.
My desire to do creative, entrepreneurial work has been around for a long time. I need to respect that wish and find a way to nurture it into being.
After all, if Honey can hold onto her desires even when she doesn’t always get a chance to express them, I can too.