I’m not sure how you all are when you walk – be it alone, or with a dog, or even with other people.
I’ve tried to walk as much as I can for several years now – even before Harper. Most of those times, I’m off into my own thoughts and daydreams. Maybe it’s about the future, or the past, or even the present. When I used to walk solo, I’d often have earbuds in with a podcast or some music playing.
Once Harper came into my world, I was focused more on her. Especially in her puppy stage. I still have to watch her somewhat closely now as she loves to try and get things in her mouth, such as clumps of grass. But as she gets older and more predictable on walks, I find myself getting lost in my thoughts again.
A lot of times, it’s about life. After passing the big 5-0 in September (and, yes, I am still working on my series about that …), I’ve been a bit more reflective. Sometimes it’s about the past, sometimes the present, and yes, the future. While I’m maybe not where I had thought I would be when I was in high school, I’m not actually doing bad. I have a good job with pretty decent pay and great benefits. I’ll have a pension and a couple of other retirement accounts when I reach that age. I own a home. I have a good car. I have family and friends.
It’s hard to complain.
But we all do, right? Maybe it’s because I don’t see some friends as often that would be nice. Maybe it’s because waking up earlier isn’t always as easy as it once was. Maybe it’s because of the price of things, or because I have to figure out how to pay for something a little bigger. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer as free wheelin’ as I once was. Maybe I just don’t feel fulfilled or happy at times, and other times I feel that I am.
We need to keep things in perspective.
Over the years, I’ve had my own personal battles. I’ve gotten into some dark places in my own head. And some days, I get there again. Thankfully, it usually doesn’t last too long. And more often than not, I do a really good job at masking and hiding it.
Life is about ups and downs. Unfortunately, because of human makeup, we aren’t perfect. That means the odds of being happy every single moment of one’s life is just not possible. So we do the best we can.
I have been reminded of this recently, especially on my walks. The reality is, we have no idea about the people who we may pass each day etc. What some may decipher as an unhappy person may be the complete opposite, and vice versa.
As I walked Harper recently, there’s one person I saw walking down the street. He has a slow pace about him and always seems a bit down. He wears headphones and just meanders along. I know I’ve seen him working as well, and it’s always the same look.
Does that mean he’s unhappy? Not at all. Not every book is the same, after all. And I wonder, too, if I sometimes look in an unhappy state when I’m out and about – even with Harper.
My “inner circle” isn’t the biggest in the world as I’ve grown older. Sometimes you lose touch with people; or other times you just become a hermit (I have done this). But either way, not a lot of people will notice certain things. But for those I let into the circle, I care about them and their thoughts and opinions matter to me. Recently, one mentioned that Harper is such a good emotional support dog for me.
Initially I brushed it off. I thought – she’s much more than that. But as I thought about it later in the night, it got me thinking about a few things. First, she absolutely is an emotional support dog for me. She’s been such a huge part of my life since I got her and I hope that continues. But it also made me think about the wording.
Why did I shy away from “emotional support dog?” Did I think it was bad? Was I worried about the stigma of it? I’m not sure. But the reality is, she does help me emotionally. And knowing I go home to her each night helps in tough times. And, truthfully, me being happier now than I was two years ago is a direct connection to Harper.
That’s why I say we need to keep things in perspective. What is one person’s happiness is another’s lows. We can’t just look at somebody and think they are unhappy, when it could be completely the opposite.
When I walk now, though, I’ll try to at least be a little more upbeat. It feels good to smile.
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