**Disclaimer: If you do not have the time or finances to support a puppy through its entire life – do NOT get a dog. This post isn’t to suggest that puppies are easy or anyone can do it – I treat my dog like my daughter and I shudder when I hear of dogs left alone for hours and hours at a time regularly or medical concerns overlooked because a vet bill is too much. Puppies are lots of work and cost lots of money to support – you are their main caretaker and they depend on you for everything.
I spent much of Christmas 2015 researching breeders and annoying my family talking about my future smushy-faced puppy. Everyone played devil’s advocate, as they should have, about why getting a puppy was a bad choice. I had several reasons to wait:
- I was still getting on my feet since graduating from college
- My boyfriend was 3 months out from departing on a 6 month deployment
- I travel a lot, back and forth between Savannah and Boston and also my job at the time was for a travel company
… and the list could go on.
Despite the valid arguments, I did it anyway. I found a puppy available at a breeder in TN, I begged and begged Connor (who also wanted a smushy-face puppy), and then I paid for her. We picked her up end of January 2016.
The first night at home I slept on the floor next to the crate so she wouldn’t cry. Several times in the night I woke up to her shitting in the crate inches away from my face. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep and I piled up two loads of laundry in an 8 hour span. I spent the next day wondering to myself, “what on earth did I do?” and concluding that I should have listened to all of the words of caution from friends and family.
However, the nights got easier from there on out. With care, training, money, and patience Bean grew into a phenomenal dog and I gained more from the experience than I could have otherwise.
- I started waking up happy.
At the time I was working in a job that I hated, I was insecure, and I was fighting depression that I thought I’d gotten on top of. But with Bean I woke up every morning and had no choice but to get up and go outside first thing. Waking up early, breathing the fresh air, getting some exercise, and being greeted by the happiest, most in-the-moment creature on earth made me truly wake up happy and excited.
- I had a buddy throughout my boyfriend’s second deployment.
I had an easy topic of conversation with him through the distance. We could connect over funny pictures of her, stories about her progress, and I was never alone in our apartment.
- I grew up.
When I got Bean I was newly 24 and very much still trying to be a college kid. Having to be more responsible with finances, time management, and care for a living being forced me to grow up. I had to finally embrace that the regression into childhood I have forever longed for was not happening. Caring for Bean taught me that, and my growth manifested in a strengthened relationship, a better career trajectory, and stability that I desperately needed.
- I’m better at talking to people.
It’s impossible to walk around downtown (or literally anywhere) with an adorable puppy and not have strangers bombard you with questions and requests to pet your dog. This is great socialization for the dog to get used to new people, faces, voices, and smells.This was also great socialization for, well, me! This served as excellent practice in talking to people – and practice is the best way to improve. I no longer get sweaty when talking to strangers, I make eye contact, and I carry myself more confidently.
So, if you can afford the time and monetary cost of owning a dog for its whole life, if it’s something you’ve been considering for a long time, if you wake up feeling like something is missing – GO FOR IT! It may just be the best decision you ever make.
We all have feelings on the topic of New Years Resolutions. Some believe in them wholeheartedly, embracing this fresh start and claiming the new year to be “theirs!” Others believe it’s all a farce – perhaps still waiting for their new “self” from many new years’ past. Some argue that you can have a fresh start anytime.
I get all of these points of view. And so on that note, part of what I’m trying to embrace with 2017 is accepting “conflicting” feelings. Because isn’t that what being human is? Being able to feel many complex emotions about a single issue or matter?
- So, to those of you who say, “You can start fresh ANY day! Why wait for the first of the year?” I say: Good point -I admire your motivation! But how great that this new year represents a push for many people to make changes, right?
- To those who say, “2017 is going to be my year!” I say: I’m here to support and encourage you – it may be hard, but you can do it.
- To those who think, “This never works for me, I’m still waiting for my workout routine from 2003’s resolutions to kick in” I say: well, you know what doesn’t work – time to try something new! Be kind to yourself and keep pushing.
I have been feeling some conflicting feelings for ages. This year I am letting those constant battles die by accepting the contradiction. In that spirit, here are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017!
- Some days I walk out the door like I’m the most beautiful person in the world, and some days I find myself saying things like, “my belly is jiggly today” or “please don’t post that picture of me I look awful”
GOAL: Arm myself with confidence and kindness and be okay with being me. Some days I’ll look and feel great, others I won’t. Every day though, I am the same me with the same love, accomplishments, and skills. I’m making peace with this battle and feeling cool in my own skin no matter what my interpretation of my image may be that day.
- I have promised to myself for ages that I will get into a workout routine. This is the classic New Years Resolution fail. We’ve all experienced the busy January gym and witness this failure trickle down year over year. I beat myself up for this. I go through phases of working out and phases of barely meeting my step goal each day.
GOAL: Seek accountability in those who want me to succeed. Don’t expect it to just happen. Expect to hurt – to collect up my grit to get it done. Expect to fail sometimes, but to keep pushing anyway.
- As a perpetual student I have stacks upon stacks of books and (figurative) articles that I want to read. I want to learn and explore all the resources available to me – plus I want to justify the $7.50 I spend per month on a digital New York Times subscription. Sounds great until the work day ends and I find it much easier to click on the tv and veg out for the rest of the evening.
GOAL: Accept that it is hard to be productive after the work day AND how important it is to keep my curiosity alive and continue learning and pushing myself. Build time into my daytime to read. I will read one full-length article per day and one book per month. Perhaps I’ll start my day with an article and spend 20 minutes mid-day to dig into a book. Care to join the fox and I? We’ll be reading some books simultaneously and discussing here so stay tuned!
At the end of the day remember not only to be kind and good to yourself but kind and good to others. There isn’t one formula that works for anybody – some need new year’s resolutions, some don’t. Let’s encourage and support one another either way.
Let me know what you think of New Year’s Resolutions or what you’re hoping to improve this year!
Hi everyone! My name is Erin and from here on out you’ll know me as the floater. I come from a small town outside of Boston, MA where I grew up riding horses, playing and bickering with my three siblings, playing outside until my mom dragged me back inside, and learning as much as possible. I’m now the mom of a boston terrier/ french bulldog named Bean who is the light of my life. She came into my life about a year ago with my boyfriend Connor, and having her helped immensely with the time apart a deployment caused.
So what do I mean by floater?
I’m an introvert who truly loves and values the connections I have with other people. I often view myself as an individual human, floating around among other humans, doing the best that I can. I have never really had a “group” of people, and the times when I do find myself in a group it usually started as a random mix of people that I jumbled together and that all happened to get along. I love being a floater – it opens me up to all types of people. I have a friend who is a nomad, traveling full time and linking up with new people, jobs, and communities to get by. I have a friend who is an electrical engineer who works her ass off daily both at work and inspiring young girls to learn to code. I have a friend who researches frogs at Harvard and travels to Central America for parts of the year to collect data. I have a friend who speaks fluent French and is a math genius. And I have a friend who is a fox who lives 15 minutes from my house and who I bonded with immediately. We bonded over a passion for education, children, and culture. We impact each other positively, pushing each other to health, happiness, and new adventures. So here we are at our newest adventure, A Fox and a Floater – I hope you enjoy following along!