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Friday, January 1, 2010

The passage of time...

I can't believe that 2009 is over. It seems like just yesterday I started to write on this blog in earnest. A way for me to let out my frustrations, fears, joys and victories while dealing with another bump in the road that is my life living with heart disease. So many things have changed in this short year, but at the same time, so many things have stayed the same. Things that I really can't let slide any more. Although yes, I did survive this particular issue with my heart, there will undoubtedly be more to come. And I am not helping the process by being so unhealthy. I swore all last year to get myself healthier-to eat better, exercise more and to lose weight. I did accomplish those...temporarily. Something always came up that derailed that self-improvement program. But I can't let those minor detours in life keep leading me down paths that I should not be on. You'd think that I would have taken last year and all its lessons to heart (no pun intended) but I didn't. Like so many of the other things in my life, I kept saying "tomorrow will be better; tomorrow I'LL be better". But "tomorrows" turned into "next week"s, and those turned into "next month"s. Now its "next year". But next year is here...you bet your Sheltie-bottoms that this year I mean it.

I'm missing out on so much; from little things like feeling out of place at family gatherings because I'm the only one who doesn't fit the "tiny" mold that everyone else does; to not taking certain trails on our walks because they might become "too long" or "too difficult". I have to change everything about the way I'm living. If I want to really enjoy my life and the lives of the amazing beings around me, I really have to get my act together...for all of our sakes.

I don't really want to make "resolutions", but set goals for myself for this year. I'd really like to keep on the right financial track that I am on now: slowly but surely paying off all of my debt so that I can start banking money. This goal, like the health one, will be a bit of a challenge for this year. The loss of our pet-discount at work will play a big part of that-not only because I'll be paying more upfront for their health care, but because I will also be putting my tax return (or most of it) towards the premium for pet insurance. (Again, more on this subject in a future post). But I am taking steps to lessen my monthly debt. Switching foods from pre-made raw to home-made will be a change, and I'm also looking into switching car insurances. They already boosted my hours at work from 35-40, so those extra 5 hours will be helpful too. I also plan on picking up as many extra shifts as I can; as I SAFELY can, I should say. Any extra money would be a big help. I plan on paying for everything I can in cash. I've already made a good head start by paying for my Christmas presents this way, so that was a big step. I just have to realize if there is something that I want, there is no rush to get it right then and there, the moment I decide I want it. I can put it on a "wish list: of sorts, and save for it. I don't know what this year will bring me health wise, so I better get my ducks in a row in case life deals me another hard hand. I already paid for my one big seminar I plan on going to this year: Patricia McConnell is coming to Worcester in July; when I found out I signed up right away. I wanted to make sure I had a spot, marked it on my calendar, and it was paid for. I love all of her books, and can hardly WAIT to see her in person! And the best part is some of my friends (the "dog ladies" as we call ourselves) have signed up too...so it will be a nice time for us to get together and see an AMAZING person give an AMAZING presentation!

I also want to work on myself for this year. I want to work on remembering everything I said I would while going through all of the rough patches last year. I want to try and not get stressed out so easily, and remember to be kind. I want to try to keep in mind that this moment spent with this being (person or animal) may be the last I ever get; no one knows what is going to happen from one minute to the next; I need to make my moments count.

The end of this year signifies so much for me. I don't know a single person who has had a really good 2009. A lot of us will not be sad to see this year go...but on the same note, this is also the end of a decade. A decade that has been really important and influential on us all. For me, this is the decade that I really "grew up" in. I graduated high school AND college. I fell in love, and then out of it. I lost dearly loved ones, including my Dad and my first Sheltie, Missy. I had 2 major health scares that almost took my life. I bought 2 cars. I moved 2 times, and lived in 3 different towns. I acquired the two dog-loves of my life that share it with now. I've had 6 different jobs (some were at the same time). I've lost friends I had when I was younger, but gained friends who share the same interests. I've changed in a lot of ways, but in so many, I have stayed the same. I've embraced my inner "geek" by being a home-body, attending dog shows, and getting excited about things like "Lord of the Rings", "Harry Potter" and "Avatar". I started in agility, was pretty successful at it, and then had to bow out because of health concerns for all involved. It's been a decade that has really covered so much of my life. Looking back, I can't believe that all that can happen in 10 years, that when looked back upon, merely seems like a blink of an eye.
So what does the next 10 years hold in store? Can anyone be completely sure? Of course not. But some things seem certain. It is certain that there will be more hard times: with everything in my life. I hope to be able to buy my own house. I'm sure that I will once again change jobs, maybe several times. I hope to be able to get back into agility (NADAC) and allow my girls to really enjoy themselves and have some fun. I'm sure there will be many more great movies I will get into, and obsess about. I'd really like to attend the 2012 Sheltie National in Florida, and someday make it to "Camp Gone to the Dogs" in Vermont. I'll attend my 10 year high school reunion. I know there will be more loss...my Grandparents continue to age, and so do my "babies". I don't think any of my friends or family with kids are planning for the day in the next decade that they will have to say goodbye to their children. They will be looking forward to seeing their kids grow up into their tweens and teens. But not us "dog parents". We will come to that inevitable day that we must say goodbye; and we might even be placed in the position of deciding when exactly that day comes. It is an awful prospect, and something I do not wish to really think about or dwell on. But when you chose to spend your life with these amazing beings, you enter into the relationship knowing that their life spans a much shorter time than yours. So we must make every day count. Real parents have their whole life time to get it right; to make sure their kids grow up successfully and with love every day. Pet-parents only have 1/4 of that time, if that. We must watch our kids change and grow up in merely a heart-beat of time; before the golden years of their seniority sets in, knowing that after this last warmth of life's autumn, winter must come.

My girls are going to be 7 and 8 this year. I plan on having a big birthday bash for them when they turn 10, and then again when they turn 15. They do not seem older to me; more mature, maybe, but not "old". I pray with every fiber of my being that they continue to stay strong and healthy for the whole next decade to come.

Other than those things, the more specific questions in life remain unanswered. I'm unsure about what I really want to do in life. I have "jobs" but don't have a "career". I desperately want to own my own business some day, but will my health permit it? I don't know if that's the wisest move. What am I to do with an associates degree in animal care, when I am not physically able to really "care" for the animals? I do really love my job now, but the company I'm working for is making it increasingly difficult for me to want to stay. The changes in policies and benefits really make working there a constant battle of worry and nerves. I would be happy to have the same job somewhere else, but how long will I need to wait before another "golden opportunity" opens? And what if it is not right next door? Will I be willing to move and relocate completely for the right job? After all, things can change...what will happen if I am far from "home" and the same bad decisions are made by that company? It's things like this that keep me awake at night. But it's also things like this that make me want to improve and not be so afraid any more. Although life hasn't worked out completely like the way I thought, everything that I did think about when I was younger has happened. It's funny when I think about it. I am exactly where I thought I would be at this age; it's just that I've had to take different paths to get here. Or maybe I was on the right path the whole time, but as I could not see where it lead in front of me, I did not know it. Whatever comes, I know it is meant to be. I must have faith. It hasn't let me down so far...

So we hope that this new year bring nothing but happiness, good times, good health, and unbelievable love for you, and your family-human and animal. 2009 is not a year that many people will be sad to see go. Hopefully the lessons that we have all learned in this tough year stick with us for the next; remember to keep things simple, as it is the small things in life that really stick with you and make the most difference. May you enjoy every moment of every day-including when you are cleaning "messes" up from the floor, brushing and blow drying for hours, vacuuming up "tumble-weeds" hidden in the corners, and being herded around your house. Remember that those times are always followed by warm snuggle sessions in bed, the peace and tranquility of a walk on your favorite path through the woods, the joy of playing with a favorite toy, and the laughter the canine-clown always bring about.
"And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer."

3 comments:

  1. Happy New Year to you and the girls :o)

    //Bente

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  2. Thank you for a beautiful post. I am crying and very touched.
    God Bless you!
    Diana
    ColliesHorsesArtLove

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  3. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful Sheltie girls! Beautiful photo!

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