A Metaphor: My life won’t be a car ride, instead the greatest walk

I am sitting next my pal, Snooppy, who can barely catch a breath. We just finished our second walk of the day and for being 14-years old, this pooch sure can get a move on. I am curious of the perspective of a dog walking out in the big, bad world. He is all but a foot off the ground, little paws navigating small rocks, the big dogs barking ferociously behind the fence. His tongue hanging out of his breathy mouth, sucking in every bit of oxygen to keep propelling him further. It can’t be easy.

A part of me empathizes with this imagined perspective of little dog in the big, bad world. This is a dog who gets amped for a car ride, but the minute I pull out the leash, he flops his butt down and gives me the “we have to do this” look. The car ride is easy, fast moving, gets us exactly where we need to go with no interruptions. The car is about the destination and less about the turns it takes to get there. However, the walk requires being exposed, vulnerable to the elements, all the dogs along the path barking at us. The walk has us sweating, annoyed with the pebbles that get between our toes. The walk can go in any direction, with no real destination, except back home.

In the metaphorical version of this tale, I’m right there with Snoopp, wanting to hop into the car. Any goal I set for myself, I want the fast pass to it. I want the ease of arriving without any hassles. Windows down, music amped up, and a carefree mentality.

Oh, but that is not how it rolls for me. Lately, I have set some lofty goals of being healthy in mind, body, and spirit. And as faulty as the logic is, I desperately want to coast through these goals to this ideal version of myself. My mind is saturated by the social media ‘before and after’ pictures, the quotes about loving yourself for how you are, the romanticized idea of chilling out in Hawaii.

As each day passes, these lofty goals of self respect, intentional eating, consistent movement of my body, daily learning, aren’t really goals at all, but a lifestyle. There will be no arrival point on any of them. Instead, it is constantly finding new paths along the way, rerouting when one meets a road block, breathing through the anxious moments and pass right on by the ferocious thoughts barking at me. The lifestyle isn’t meant to be a comfy car ride, but a vulnerable, sweaty walk.

Like Snoopp, I enjoy the couch too much. For him it is too sleep, but for me the couch represents the overthinking, the binging on emotions, leaning into comforts. Today was one of those days where I really did spend a lot of time on the couch. I kind of just wanted to feel bad for myself, for the late night munchies of last night and the aches in my legs that made me want to take today off of hiking. The overthinking got me questioning if I am making use of this time enough.

The big dog of self deprecation is snarling so loud, day and night. But damn if I don’t walk right on by it, waving at the gnarly thoughts caged behind a fence. I can be spooked by their presence, it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t. Nevertheless, they won’t take me down.

With this strange recap of the day and metaphor for my life, I end with questions to myself. What is the ideal version of myself and what would happen if I was already her? And, define enough.

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