The Growler


I have a special fondness for the meanest dog in my apartment building. She’s a little gray thing and looks like a shaved Shih Tzu. However, she growls if I get near her. If I find myself on the elevator with this dog and her owners, I make a point to stand far away from them. At first her owners seemed embarrassed by her behavior. They assured me they were trying to socialize her. I’ve learned over time that this dog was found wandering alone in a canyon, starving. I’ve told her owners how much I admire them for adopting her. Dogs that snarl and growl are often euthanized in shelters because they’re considered unadoptable. I feel sad about the Growler’s previous life, but happy that two loving people took her in. It’s not her fault she was neglected and learned to fear people. I know, despite her growling, that she’s still a good dog. pet-2530265__480

 

Adaptive Solution 2

When I lived in Boston in my thirties, I had a colleague who suffered from intermittent sinus infections. In warmer months, she would recover from these illnesses by going to Cape Cod and lying on a beach. She explained that she knew she wouldn’t be able to work and would need to spend her days resting. She told me she might as well rest in a beautiful place instead of at home, staring at her own four walls. She would sleep and read on the beach until she felt better. She was a social worker like me and seemed to be able to handle the expense of weeklong hotel stays. I thought this was a great idea, and I may someday try it myself.

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Do the Right Thing—Scoop the Poop

I woke up one morning during the 2018 holidays and went about my morning chores. This includes scooping my litter boxes and carrying the waste in a plastic bag to the garbage shoot in my condo’s building. On my way there, I saw that a neighbor’s dog had had an accident on the walkway. I stepped carefully around the mess and returned to my apartment ticked off.

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I thought about what had just occurred as I continued my morning chores. I realized I was being a jerk and went outside to remove the mess, so none of my other neighbors would have to navigate around it. Once outside I saw that the poop was gone. I felt ashamed of myself for having been angry and judgmental toward my neighbors, who probably just needed a few minutes before cleaning up. But I also was proud of my willingness to do the right thing and take care of the mess myself. This incident reminded me of two important things. First, to always try to do what I believe is right, and second, to be more gracious toward others.

ANOTHER GOOD DECISION

I’d planned to catch a movie immediately after work and had been looking forward to it all week. The film’s run was ending the next day; it wasn’t showing anywhere else near me, so that evening was my last chance to see it in a theater, which I always prefer to watching movies on Pay Per View. decisions-2709671_1280

But I’d had a busy week and was worn out. After much internal debate, I realized I needed to go straight home to rest. Shortly after I got home, I began to have heart palpitations, something that happens occasionally when my body is stressed. I’m still sorry I missed the movie, but I’m proud of myself for making a good decision.

When we live with illness, we must constantly evaluate what is good for our health and what will make us worse. The process never ends. I’m always proud of myself when I’ve made the decision to prioritize my health.

 

 

SIXTY IS THE NEW FORTY

I’ve heard that sixty is the new forty. In a year I turn sixty, and I’ve wondered what I might do differently if I get to redo my forties. After some reflection, I realized I have no regrets. I had many challenges in my forties, but my fifties have been a wonder. Numerous elements of my life hit their groove, and it’s been a decade of beautiful challenges and growth.celebration-16301__480

I don’t need a second chance at my forties. I’m hoping instead that my sixties will be as exciting and rewarding as my fifties have been. I’m doing fine.