Planning For Life

This week has been an exciting week for my family and me. We welcomed a new member to our family, a handsome Boston Terrier, affectionately known as Tag.
He has truly & completely taken over our hearts in every way, shape and form, in just a few short days. I’ve had limited exposure to being a pet owner, but I can honestly say, this is the first time I’m a pet parent. Believe me… there is a difference.

When Tag first arrived to his new home, it was dark, nearly midnight. Luckily, my friend Louie is Tag’s grandpa (parent of Tag’s parents). I literally called him after receiving the last of my Amazon delivery, and he and his wife were gracious enough to let our crazy family come get our Tag earlier than planned. Tag was completely unsure what he was getting himself into. I knew a little bit about him, because my friend shared stories and pictures. I knew he wasn’t too timid to chew dining room chairs for instance. I had the inside scoop. Tag didn’t know anything about me or our family. I did my research, so I knew about his breed, what he required, what he was likely sensitive to and what he could and could not tolerate. So, I planned accordingly. I knew what food he was eating and which hip they used to give his last shot. So, I was able to ensure he remained comfortable. Our friends were kind enough to make sure we had a tennis ball with the scent of his siblings and parents, so we made sure he had that on his first night home. He slept in his playpen, near me, and I woke up several times during the night to make sure he was okay, and to take him out. We all  just wanted to make sure his first night was a pleasant one.

When he first came to our home. It was obvious he was nervous. He reluctantly came up the first few steps to our front door. He looked around, sniffed a bit, saw the pitfalls, and happily hopped over the threshold. It rained days prior to his arrival, so he was sure he didn’t like grass… or so he thought until it was sunny. Once inside, I gave him a grand tour of the lower level. He was excited, but thankfully, no accidents. When it was time to head upstairs, he went up exactly two steps, same number as there are in the front, and he stopped. He was obviously confused, so I picked him up and sat him on the landing/ larger step, thinking okay, he should be good to go from here. Again, he walked up two more steps and I continued to walk until I got to the very top of the stairs. I stopped, turned, and when I looked down, It was clear that Tag, after going up those two steps, decided it was not worth the effort, and he just laid down and he didn’t move further. Gotta love him!

My entire family prepared for Tag as much as much as we possibly could, based on other people’s experiences with the breed, our personal research, known sensitivities, and health issues. I hate to say or type these words… We were able to do that because his lifespan is shorter than the average human.  People have done the research and have had experience to tell me and my family what to expect. If I devoted my life to studying Boston Terriers, I’d likely see the cycle of his life from beginning to end at least 3 times. That would not be possible, not even if I devoted my life to studying a single human life. Outside of unforeseen and unusual circumstances, that would not be possible for any human being.

When we’re going through different phases in life there is usually someone in the next phase to reach out to, ask questions, or bounce ideas off of. When you are a kid under 10 years old, you may have a teenager that you could talk to. He or she may tell you about life in middle school. When you are a teenager, you may have a young adult that you could talk to. He or she may tell you about life in high school, and things you could do to get the biggest bang for your 20s. When you get married, you may have an older sister or brother to talk to. He or She may tell you about the things to expect during married life.

I know I’m nowhere near it, but it made me think. When you get to old age… there is no one who has crossed over to the other side of old age that could tell you what it’s like or what to expect. So, every experience is new, every step is potentially different from the last, you just don’t know what you’re going to step into. Yeah, you’re excited. You know that you no longer have to work 40+ hours each week. You know that you get a lot of free time. You likely have fewer expenses or are entirely debt free, but there’s likely also a lot of apprehension, much like little Tag coming into our home. The difference between me, you, and Tag is, no one can sit and plan every moment and every step of our lives to make sure we are comfortable. No one can tell us – hey, we know for a fact you’re going to be sensitive to heat because your nostrils are very short, therefore, we will make sure you’re not exposed to extreme heat and we’ll make sure you get plenty of water. We will even put some ice cubes in the water to cool you down as needed. That’s just not how life typically works for us humans.

What we can do is plan as best as we can for ourselves. We can plan based on other people’s experiences. We can plan based on what we’ve seen our parents go through, or what we’ve seen our friends go through. We can plan based on our health or genetics. We can plan to avoid some of those situations that were completely unacceptable to us. We can plan to make our lives more comfortable than we’ve seen other people experience. We can plan to have enough income to travel. Plan to have freedom to get what we want out of life. You have no idea what’s going to come up, and no one can guarantee anything about the course of your life specifically. What you need to know for sure is that old age is coming if its not already here. It comes for all of us. The best way to make sure that we go through it comfortably is to plan for it.  No one is going to lay out the puppy pads, no one is  going to tell us It’s okay to step up or down,  no one’s going to be watching us every step of the way, or taking us to the side every couple of hours to say, Hey, this is what you need to do. When we’re scared because we hear a big loud bark, one that sounds much bigger than our own, and we start to shiver, no one is going to pick us up,  hold us tight, and say it’s okay. That’s not how the world works for that phase of life. That is the only phase of life where you cannot reach out to someone who’s made it through to the next phase to ask – hey, am I going to make it through this? But what you can do is plan adequately, or as best as you can. You absolutely will make it through. In fact, you can make the best of the golden years of your life, if you plan accordingly!

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