Pet Peeves: Without a Dog...I Would Have Missed the Miracle

I was unable to make a decision on Black Friday, on Cyber Monday, in small shop shopping--I couldn't choose ANYthing! In the meantime I saw parks, met new people, got exercise, smelled the trees, and I have my dog to thank for reminding me to live.

I wanted to get something special for my kids. I shopped Black Friday specials non-stop. I couldn't make decisions.

"They'll hate it."

"I know this one—it looks cool to me, but they'll just want to return it!"

"Maybe I should just get them a credit card for the mall."

"Is this not perfect? Is it? Isn't it? Is it" Isn't it?"

They say the hardest thing about dancing is that it's an endless series of decisions. Wouldh't life be great if there were no decisions?

I know people who have the worst trouble writing scripts because it is an avalanche of decision-making. I know people who sign up for dating services but never actually meet anybody because they can't choose which candidate is worth it for taking that risk.

Small shop shopping came. I couldn't make up my mind.

Cyber Monday came. I had a class to take after getting off work as a busy teacher. I need to do my shopping for the kids. Nothing.

"Am I a total failure? A flake? A dizzy diddlybop in a hunting vest?"

Yeah, I'm an idiot when it comes to shopping for other people. I never know what they really want. And when they do tell me I dont listen. I take lessons all day from a couple hundred 11 and 12-year-olds.

Meanwhile, in this vast sea of choices which become more frightening, chilling, over my head, I find I am living pretty well. I'm eating better—less. I'm feeling better—less stressed. I'm meeting people—while I walk. I'm smelling the smells, kicking the cans, sniffing the flowers—while I'm out each day.

While I'm teaching my dog to heel, I'm healing. While I'm walking off my frustrations, my dog is introducing me to the neighbors.

I would never meet half the people in my hood. There are women far too adorable to be approached for chit chat.There are men too busy-looking, too busy for shooting the breeze with some old guy who reads too much. But I meet those people and more.

I meet the record executive who is now essantially retired and under fifty. I meet the model who dresses down whenever she is not auditioning or working, favoring jeans and an old sweatshirt. I meet the amateur musician who chain smokes, "though it's no good—I know—worst thing. I know!" I meet the woman whose husband left her 20 years ago for his secretary. She got the house, but it was too much to clean and repair, so:

"I got this condo. It's much easier, but I get lonely," she says, pointing to the maltese beside her. "He is my real partner, and he keeps me in touch with the people around here who'd never visit with me without a dog to break the ice.

I realized then that OP breaks the ice for me every day. Several times a day I meet the peole in my neighborhood. Each time I walk, almost without exception, there is an exchange—even if it's incredibly brief or non-verbal—that puts walking a cute dog above E-Harmony, Dale Carnegie, or 'introductions from friends.

Want to meet the people in your neighborhood? Break the ice? Get out a bit? Put a leash on your pup and get out there. They have to move around. By helping them, it's your turn. And no matter how tough holidays are on you—no matter how many decisions you are forced to make—you don't even have to think about walking the dog.

People, each day, are making movie deals and meeting the love of their life, finding long lost friends, or just seeing how nice the trees are in the fog.

"When he's gotta go, you gotta go." And new friends, breaking the ice, busting through the isolation of holiday blues all say:"Whem he's gotta go...you GET TO, too!"

Walk on.


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