Two weeks ago Mike had the idea that we should to inject some joy in our daily lives to find daily positivity rather than worrying about the same things, go through the same routine, day in and day out. The thought was to give ourselves a chance to breathe through the daily stress. He suggested we get a puppy. Funny thing was, it wasn’t completely random because a few weeks ago my boys and I spent a good two hours together randomly talking about potential dog names and were even looking up types of dogs to consider – without Mike and I never mentioned it to him.
We ended up picking up a puppy that day. She’s a black Cockapoo that we’ve named Olive-Oil and she has made friends with our 4 year old white Goldendoodle, Maggi-Sauce. We kind of have a yin and yang thing going with them.
After looking at many cute puppy ads online I found Olive’s ad and my gut just wanted her so badly even though my brain was telling me otherwise. And as bad as it may sound, she wasn’t the cutest puppy in the tinder world of puppies either. Everything about picking her was a response to my gut, and I knew it was irresponsible too. I guess the best word to describe it is – intuition.
But today I had to make the adult decision of rehoming her as we may not be able to afford to keep her because earlier this week Mike got the news that his work contract isn’t going to be renewed, that means there’s financial uncertainty that lays ahead for us again. I’ve convinced myself that I’m making the decision for the greater good. After everything that has happened to our finances and being on the brink of losing my home this year, my biggest fear is if we have one unplanned big bill that comes along, it may get the best of us – plus, we haven’t been having the best of luck lately either.
Side note: if you’ve been following, we were able to get a lender to work with us on our property and we finalize the paperwork at the end of this month. We were also able to save both vehicles and that is also getting finalized at the same time. As for the police charges, we haven’t heard back on anything quite yet.
Olive is also very intuitive, independent and smart. It took me less then 1 hour to teach her to sit and shake both paws at 9 weeks. So I feel like in some way, I’ve been given what I’ve always asked for because a pup like her is hard to come by.
Everyone says I’m Olive’s favorite person and she comes looking for me all the time, I secretively know this too. I don’t want to admit it because I’ll get too attached. But I’m sure it’s too late for that now.
I really have become quite in awe with her. She impresses me every day. If life was certain again, I wouldn’t even question keeping her. Her temperament reminds me a lot of my old dog, Mercedes, which Mike gave me as a Valentine’s Day present when we were dating in 2003. I adored that dog and took her everywhere. My parents actually gave her away, without me knowing, after Mike and I broke up in 2005. Since the day that my parents gave her away, I’ve always asked the universe for a dog like Mercedes again, I miss her so much and she’s a super smart intuitive dog and knew so many tricks.
Oddly, I feel like this pup was meant to teach so many things and help remind and restore what we’ve forgotten about ourselves. I know that for myself, I was reminded of what it’s like to mother and nurture a baby again – it’s much different now that my kids are teenagers. Or how to rearrange my daily routine to now accommodate her puppy/baby routines because she is dependent on me. In essence, she’s reminding me that I’ve always been able to handle a hectic daily life of juggling schedules, humans, hunger, and deadlines. All of these I consider to be problems for the necessary good, which makes it all good problems to have. In retrospect, I suppose lately we’ve been avoiding all struggles in general because of the misfortunes that we’ve been facing. We are bracing with anguish or avoiding everything that could be a problem, whether it be good or bad . Perhaps by dealing with too much adversity we’ve forgotten what it’s like to have daily good struggles in our lives.
Without her I wouldn’t be experiencing the pain of making sacrifices for the greater good and deeply hurting myself in silence while keeping strong for others. This feels painfully heavy and it’s ripping me apart inside. It’s like an open emotional wound that I keep invisible to everyone else, although I feel like I’m bleeding out.
The pain in the decision to rehome her completely woke Mike and I up to recognize the good struggles that we’ve always been capable of bearing within our daily lives. And even though I’ve acknowledged in my previous posts that we’re exactly where we need to be, have haven’t owned the fact that we also need to start doubling down on our efforts to climb out of our rut – until Olive came around. Because, admittedly so, the biggest challenge is to show up with your mind is flailing around making plans and excuses to avoid pain. Olive has motivated us to take stronger action and to strive to get us back to where we were before adversity slapped us. We’ve been doubling down on our work and by the end of the night, we’re tired but in a productive way rather then the emotional and ruminating mind way like we had been doing before bringing her home – a feeling that we’ve forgotten.
She has been able to help Mike break out of his monotonous routine and I find that he has put his work away for a little bit just to spend time playing with her. He’s been laughing more. When he plays with her, it grounds him and makes him be able to break away from tension and ruminating thoughts. He also has been sleeping much better and has had no signs of panic attacks since she’s been with us. Instead of just enduring the contract issue and finding another job, Mike has made strategic plans and spoke to the board of directors in terms of his contract. It turns out they had no idea he wasn’t getting renewed by the ED and are not happy about it, which gives us hope. This is the true Mike that I’m accustomed to. He always triples down when life gets tough and never goes out without a fight. Last year too much happened all at once, he didn’t even know where to throw his punches to make an impact. Dealing with everything as well as his own inner demons took a lot out of him. Olive has made him come alive again.
She has been a blessing for the boys as well, today Jason learnt the lesson of attachments and that fine line when logic needs to meet with emotions. As for Aiden, she has been really good for him to learn to take care of another being. He has been willing to wake up with her in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks, and he’s happy to clean after her accidents in the house without any complaints about it. He has been an Aiden that’s happy to take on new responsibilities which is night and day compared to the Aiden that I know.
While I was handling the inquiries that came in about Olive, I also had to deal with the emotional aspect with my boys about how overwhelming life has been, plus now the loss of a dog. How cruel is that? I also had to proceed on with daily life like grocery shop as I worried about going over budget at the till as Jason, my son was trying to have airy conversations with me at the same time. My mind is like mush. I also am trying to have some guiltless alone time to work for myself as I write this but it’s harder then it seems because in the back of my mind I can’t help but be distracted by my anxiety over job security. I was operating on high anxiety all day today with a smile on my face and the only moment that I was able to decompress was when I snuck away in my room and cried quietly to myself just now.
But I managed through it all being there for everyone without losing my mind. This was when I realized the familiar feeling of how I used to be able to do these types of things all the time. I budgeted at the till when Mike and I had just moved in together and we were at the poorest stage in our lives, taking out payday loans to make rent. I used to be able to multitask and take on clients and partnership calls while prepping dinner. I am even known to write solid contracts while sitting in the car waiting for my sons ball game to start as well as scheduling appointments for multiple home showings. I’m used to having a gazillion people demand my attention at the same time at the dinner table, not being able to finish a thought before someone else says something else to me, as I internally was dealing with the anxiety of meeting deadlines and replying to people that I know are waiting for me.
I believe that sometimes we forget the feeling of how much and what type of struggle we can actually handle before we were able to get comfortable with life or life got comfortable with us. Olive reminded me of past lessons that I’ve forgotten, she’s also reminded me of what I’ve loss within myself. My edge and the feelings from my past battles to go along with the memories I have.
Olive has taught us many lessons, but the biggest lesson that this pup has given me is to experience good pain and the struggles that makes life worth its while.
Pain is a very personalized and, you can’t and shouldn’t carry someone’s pain because it’s there for them to experience, learn, and grow. By carrying other’s pain, you’re not doing yourself justice and you’re enabling them to numb that pain as well as ignore or avoid it. When we become brave enough to face and work through our pain we grow, we level up, and we become experienced. Pain teaches us about ourselves, it offers growth, shows us what we’re made of and provides the opportunities to become better version of ourselves.
And, pain can make us selfish as its normal for the mind to obsess on ideas and theories to try and stop whatever that is hurting. When we allow our minds to obsess like this, we lose sight of other poeple around us and we can easily project or take out our pain on to others. It’s like drowning at sea, we’ll grab on to anything to keep from downing, even if that means pulling down someone else along with us.
The real way to stop pain is to have compassion. Compassion gives us a moment to find peace and to catch our breath again. It allows the waves to settle so that we can see the real picture that we’re in. When we are able to be rescued by our own compassion, we can also start having clarity on others without pulling them down with us. We’re more open to other perspective and advice, and we’re not stuck within our own obsessing minds anymore that is quite capable to lying to us. This is why ignoring or shielding others from our pain is only counterproductive.
Life is always happening and unfortunately we can’t hit the pause button. But we can’t and shouldn’t digress or degress especially when we’re trying to get our own lives back on track. Doing so only adds to the open wounds and gets it infected. A wound, be it emotional or physical, requires love and care for it to heal, if not we’re only coping with the pain and allowing it to fester – realistically we are choosing to suffer. What we need to do acknowledge and experience our our wounds instead of allowing the pain to succumb us. In emotional wounds, we can even utilize the pain as a motivational means to bring us back to our baseline, the point in our lives before we fell off track.
From experience, the work to climb out of the pain we’re in will always be twice as hard before life got the best of us. Think about it, if we’re depressed, we have to work twice as hard as being sad to feel happy again. Same goes for when our finances dips below our comfort zone, same goes for our relationships when it’s rocky, and same goes for our physical body when we’ve treated it poorly. When life has knocked you down on your ass, you need to put in more effort and energy to stand back up to throw back those punches. You can’t expect to throw effective punches when you’re on the ground.
Without struggle there’s no growth and without growth there would be no struggle. As Mark Manson has stated in his book The Subtle Art if Not Giving a F*ck, “What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually.”
I prayed and asked the universe for a sign on whether or not Olive is meant to be with us. To keep my mind from obsessing and taking control of the situation I’m choosing the perspective of she came into my life for all these lessons that we had to wake up to. I hope the universe tells me something by the tomorrow evening, as I already have people who are wanting to visit her. I also have people willing to take a 2 hour ferry ride and make an additional 2 hour drive into town to pick her up this weekend.
Lord knows, my heart is hurting.