In our youth, we believe we can do anything. Our parents, in fact, tell us as much. Parents worldwide still spew the propaganda that with hard work and determination we can be or do anything we want to be or do.
I can tell you I am determined and motivated to be twenty pounds lighter, but it is still not going to happen. Despite the gym, improved eating habits, my anger at myself every time I put on my clothes, my body does not want to go gentle into that good pair of jeans. Also, I’d prefer to buy new clothes than have to give up wine. Not the most economical of choices, but the decision I make with every glass.
Maybe I don’t need to conquer all my goals though.
Take the objective of trying to teach my old dog a new trick. I wanted to prove the adage wrong because it seemed a surmountable aim and one that might give me a boost of confidence as I approach much more difficult challenges in the weeks ahead. I am the dog’s master after all, and he should do as I say. Also, if I can teach my dog a new trick, maybe this old dog can learn some of her own.
Scooby is seven in people years and my contemporary if you count his dog years at forty-nine. Scooby will smile, stretch, tell me a story, wake up the kids, and any other number of tricks if there is a treat on offer. Fetch is where he draws the line. Every dog we have ever owned plays fetch. It is an excellent exercise for the dog, and you can do it with a coffee or glass of wine in one hand. Win/win.
But, Scooby is a herding dog. His instincts run pretty deep, and he doesn’t try and change them. I told myself, anything is possible with hard work and determination–even turning a herder into a retriever.
Scooby started the week of training making an effort with the ball several times, and he got his treat for bringing it back within seven feet. I worked that dog hard and me even harder for seven long-drawn days. It required a significant amount of coaxing and showing him how to fetch with me on all fours and the ball in my mouth. He would chase the ball and spend seven minutes ignoring me. That was the game Scooby chose instead of the one I was trying to teach him.
After a week, I took that little shit to a dog park to play fetch with a friend (who is also a herding dog). Scooby ran after the ball before realizing the trick and choosing his own path. Fetch is not what he wanted for himself. Scooby didn’t seem to give a fuck what others think of him. He is who he is without apologies. I want to be that way!
Maybe the hard work and determination our parents should remind us to do is the work to be who we are? That is a backbreaking task. And, that is worth the motivation and effort.
You are right my hairy friend. The goal should be accepting who we are without apologies and that is the treat. Outsmarted by my dog twice in one week. Thanks for the lesson, Scooby. Touché.
My Turning 50 Like a Boss Tip: Be who you are without apologies. If you don’t know who you are, teach yourself. The reward will be worth the effort.
Next week I try welding.