Does the Dog Walk You?

Walking a dog is supposed to be good for your health. What they don’t say is what type of dog. I had a dog, a 100 pound German Shepherd dog, that was difficult to walk. She pulled at her leash until she was hoarse. I’d listen to her wheeze and cough like she was a smoker, but it didn’t stop her. In my mind it didn’t make any sense. Why would she keep pulling so hard if it caused pain?

Ha! But don’t I do the same. This last week was a busy one, and the week before and so on. For approximately 2 months my office has been working overtime, catching up. Orders need entered and claims must be sent. You know how it is. We pull ourselves up and stop whining. And once the adrenaline kicks in we’re immortal. We can clean the closet, run a race, groom the dog, wash the car, mow the lawn, give blood, and feed the family. Right? Then it stops.

I realize I was like Crystal, my big lap dog of a German Shepherd, who didn’t know when to slow down. When your body and mind finally realized it’s exhausted, it starts shutting down. Some of us get headaches, others get the flu. As much as I’d like to preempt this, I also realize that I’m task driven and if it’s there, I will do. Just like my dog. I will pull at the leash and wheeze and choke the whole way. The best I can do at this moment is allow myself to crash. Ease up on the pressure I apply and like a fellow blogger put so perfectly, The Virtues of Lowering Expectations, 

When we expect ourselves to do everything  “to the very best of our abilities,” where do we think we’ll get more of the time, energy and focus necessary to be ABLE to  do everything equally well and at the top of our game?

  • Some of us will shut down in overwhelm, then beat ourselves up for our inability to activate, which makes things worse.
  • Some of us have discovered how to transform expectation pressure into a brain-stimulating adrenalin rush that allows us to slip into a getting things done perfectly state of hyperfocus that is just as disabling.

We wear ourselves down to a nub long before we realize we haven’t been functioning very well, so not much of anything was actually accomplished.

Finally exhausted, we slip into depressive ruminations when we can’t “make ourselves” keep up that pace.

There’s a book I read years ago called Three Black Skirts. Basically, it’s organization for young women. Keeping balance, it stated, was necessary for being healthy. I used to think that if I was going to do anything, I’d have to do it forever, such as writing 1000 words a day. I realize now that if something is more pressing, such as working overtime, then it’s okay to let up on other things. Balance is the key. I’m not abandoning an activity, I’m merely postponing or minimizing. Less wheezing. Less pulling at the leash. More at ease with life.

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Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Do you ever wonder about your own weirdness? Those quirky things we do, like the way we cheer for the underdog. Or we want the crook caught. I wonder about mine. I know I’m not alone with my quirks. So I thought I’d mention some that I’ve noticed in myself as well as others. Our quirks in common.

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Why do women try to fix people? Men especially. We see a disheveled boy/man and we want to take him in. Just like a lost puppy. And then we feel disappointment when he pees on our carpet. It’s a crazy world out there. The sooner we realize our tendencies, the healthier we are. If we don’t want the puppy chewing up our new red shoes, maybe we shouldn’t let him follow us home. I guess that would be the wiser thing to do. But we enjoy the cuddly phase. And that puppy smell is intoxicating. The moment we find him all splattered with mud, we pick him up and carry him home. We bandage him and hold him tight. Our love rescues him. Once again we see our worth. We show our strength. Our love conquers all. But maybe that’s an oversimplification. Not all women have this complex.

We all love stories. The sadder, the more outrageous, the better. We can listen to someone’s ailment or how they feel mistreated by their spouse. We get involved in the other’s life and story. We feel their pain and their joy. What makes us addicted to sad stories so much that we’ll get just as outraged at another’s injustice even if we just saw it on the news? Do you find it silly? I find it draining.

Intelligence impresses me and I often mistake the spouting of facts as intelligence. Most of us idolize people who comb their hair just right or say clever things. And we know it’s all fake. We get advice from people just because they made a TV show. Are we that lost? It’s difficult to believe that the Dugger family know any more about child rearing than any other parent. Or the Kardashians can give me beauty advice.

puppy

The only way I see to stop repeating the same tendencies is to recognize that they aren’t working. I could resist kissing on the cute puppy. NO CUTE PUPPIES. I could refuse to acknowledge my attraction to people who need help, but resistance will just create a bigger need inside. It is better if can take a good look at my attraction. See it for what it is. It’s my craving. Whether I give in or not, is not important. I think it’s worse to walk into a relationship blinded by your romanticism and think it’s the guy of your dreams, the one who will save you from your despair and loneliness. And when you wake up and see his attention wandering or like the puppy, peeing on the carpet, you act surprised. He was that person from the start. You just put a hero costume on him, because you needed him to play the hero for you.

It’s difficult to remember these things in the middle of an enchantment. It’s so easy to get caught up in the thrill of dating and weddings. There’s so much energy. So much excitement. Sparkle and shine. And all the friends and family encouraging you,  keep you from noticing the flaws. Cracks in the wall. Chipping paint. Mold growing along the baseboard. We’ve found our perfect man. Our hero is a fixer-upper. How long until we wear out  from constantly repairing the leaking ceiling?