I Wish I Was a Dog
I wish I was more like my sister’s dog. Completely enamored by the world around me. Taking the time to enjoy what’s in front of me rather than harping on the past or living for some distant future. Being content no matter where I am. Thrilled at the smallest hint of companionship or fragrance of a flower. What separates me from a life like that? A life of constant presence and continuous joy.
Expectations, perhaps? Regret, maybe?
Everyday I wake up with a lingering feeling of guilt or anticipation. It’s strange how our human consciousness, as much as it is a gift, can cause us so much turmoil. I suppose this is the reason why in the origin story of Genesis, God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of life. As humans, we define our lives by our level of awareness that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Our ability to recall what once was and to envision what could be. But now, well now can wait.
I am not so sure that a dog even knows tomorrow exists. Or that yesterday is different than today. Rather, I’d imagine it all just feels like now. Call it blissful ignorance of a species less evolved, regardless I think dogs are on to something profound. A timeless wisdom that so many of us have lost sight of as we’ve aged. Over time, our intelligence may grow but is that worth trading our present innocence?
As a child I can recall the years being much longer. Days felt like more than twenty-four hours. Summers seemed to endlessly unfold and adulthood was a distant future; one I had no concern or worry about. They say dogs live between around ten to fifteen years. This may sound short but I can recall my first ten years feeling like a lifetime. Years that followed, however, have felt like a blip.
Thus far, my adult existence has felt like jumping from obligation to obligation. Graduating from high school turned into college and full time work. I can barely recall my college graduation because I was so focused on starting my career. Landing a job turned into forty hour work weeks which quickly turned into fifty, then sixty. One job turned into two, which turned into me discovering my passions in life which required even more of my time. My present gave way to my future. It no longer mattered if I was living for now because my future was far more important. There was no time to enjoy each day; I was far too busy trying to avoid the mistakes I’ve made in the past so that my future self might look back and thank me. Success was the priority; something I had to get to. As I read that sentence again, the foolishness of my perspective is embarrassingly clear.
Meanwhile my present was ignored. My health; mind, body, and soul was left uncared for. “Who I am” was not nearly as important as “who I wanted to be” or being better than “who I was”. Years past in a blink of an eye. Reflecting on it now, I’m astounded by how much I missed. All the things I could’ve appreciated but didn’t.
As simple as her life may seem to me, what my sister’s dog effortlessly does everyday can not be understated. Presence, true presence is so difficult for us to achieve. No matter where we are in the world, the weight of our past and the expectations we place on ourselves is immense. Yet we still do it to ourselves every day. It feels good, after all. It makes us feel important. But is it more important than today? The simple truth is that it isn’t nor can it ever be. Because the reality is, today is all there is. So do me and yourself a favor today, get out of your brain. Let go of who you were and who you want to be right now. They don’t exist and they never will. Only you exist. The you right here and now, reading the meanderings of a guy trying to figure it all out just like you are. You’re important. You’re the priority, You always have been and you always will be. So just turn it off for now. Go bask in the sunlight or bark at the mailman if that’s your thing too; whatever it is, just be here for today.
Is it possible?
That the scent of a flower
Has this much power
A gentle evening breeze
Enough to make time freeze
Birds chirping in the distance
To me just another instance
Be assured it’s so much more
In life it’s what it’s all for