“When you realize that you will never be this young again but this is the first time you have ever been this old.” – Kalyn Roseanne Livernois.
I am standing in the kitchen making Tea and listening to music, when suddenly I look at Junior who is sleeping about a feet away from where I am standing. This moment really got to my heart. Just standing there and the first thought that flashed in my mind, “How fragile his body has become, but spirits still high.”
Just then, I don’t feel at home in my own skin. There used to be the comfort of enjoying my evening Tea while Junior slept besides me; which I called “Me Time.” When I realized that Junior is no more a puppy, but this is the first time he has ever been this old. When I suddenly can’t remember how he got this old and is no more a young agile dog, and at the same time he is just as much energetic as he was few years ago.
Nostalgia hit me, and all the memories suddenly flashed in front me. The day I bought Junior home; a palm size puppy, so soft and fluffy. And as days passed, he grew up in no time. A big energetic dog who made his presence felt at every minute of the day. Destroying furniture, jumping around, zoomies, spilling water, etc., and most importantly, Junior jumping on me while I made Tea to eat lemongrass. At the same time, I was younger, and had all the energy to cater to him at all times.
My heartbeats are racing now with thoughts of getting old. Additionally, seeing Junior motionless just staring at me while I am drowned in my thoughts and staring at him back. His bones are weak now, his eyes no longer holds the bright sharp vision, his fur is getting dull, and his energy gets drained in no time.
I am feeling the cracking in my bones, the strain of my heart, and the aching that comes with growing up. The past 10 years of reminiscence of loving, lost love, adventure, a hunger for home (whatever “home” means), nostalgia, angst, etc. At this point of time, I just want someone to look at me in the face and say, “I know exactly how you feel and it is ok to grow old.”
When I was younger and Junior was a puppy, I thought aging would be an achievement. Each year that passed marked one step closer to adulthood. However, right at this moment, I realized I am not young anymore and neither is Junior. But I also appreciate the years we spent together. The ups and downs, the running around and bedtime, the tears and laughter, the hugs and sloppy kisses, the walks and drives, the illness and good health, the frustrations and patience, and the love and togetherness.
The sight of Junior portrays that he aged gracefully. And he helped me age gracefully. Aging is inevitable. So why not do it joyfully? Without realization, we did just that. The strength of pulling ourselves through all the bad times, yet with enthusiasm and still kicking it is a proof that we are aging gracefully.
Junior is not jumping on me to eat lemongrass anymore, but his presence is enough for me to keep going and do my best to give him a comfortable old age.
The song is over. The Tea is done. I am out of trance. I can hear my heartbeats. I am breathing in and out. Poured the Tea in my cup and I walk outside to sit on the couch. Just then, Junior got up and put his head on my lap and went off to sleep. Some things never change. I feel at home again. This is my “Me Time.” One day, we all will leave this place, but that’s not today.
If you have a dog, chances are you will have a healthy heart, and mostly likely live longer. Medically speaking, a dog at home means better cardiovascular health, especially for heart attack and stroke survivors who live alone. Prior studies have shown that dog ownership alleviates social isolation, improves physical activity and even lowers blood pressure.
Keeping a dog is a good motivation for physical activity. Let’s talk about personal experience. My dogs have helped me stay away from depression, and losing and maintaining a healthy weight. I am physically very active in the form of walking my dogs, getting up to fill their water bowls, tending to them when they are ill, cleaning the house when they dirty it, feeding them, etc. My dogs help me in not living a sedentary life. I am on the move most of the time even at home.
Above were some of the physical advantages of having a dog. However, my dogs have helped me in more ways than many in keeping me sane. I never feel lonely. I have a motive to live, and that is to give my dog the best and healthy life. I never think of suicide. I don’t constantly require human company, as my dogs are always around. My dogs also encouraged me to start this blog and share my experiences.
But the worse part about having a dog is – saying “Goodbye”. Ever since Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, I have never been able to fully recover. Dogs have a magic effect on us, which doesn’t vanish even after they are gone.
One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that dogs fulfill the basic human need for touch. It has been found that touch calms our nervous center and slows down our heartbeat. Touch also lowers blood pressure as well as cortisol, our stress hormone. It also triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone known for promoting emotional bonding to others. So now you get it, dogs are clingy. They don’t even leave you alone to the bathroom – ha ha ha ha ha!
Every dog should have a home. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying every home can have a dog. There are a lot of factor to be considered before getting a dog home like money, size of the house, number of members at home, city you live in, etc. And having a dog does not mean a piece of cake. It’s a huge responsibility. But once you have a dog, then there is no looking back. Your life changes for the better.
Let me share another benefit of having a dog. My dog’s Instagram account has more followers than my personal account. Also, many a times when I walk my dog, I have had many people approach me to pet my dog and just start a random chat with me. Not that it is safe to talk to strangers each time, but I have made many genuine friends only because of my dogs. Socializing at its best!
Let’s talk from astrology point of view (though I do not believe in astrology). It is considered lucky even in astrology to have a dog at home. People who are superstitious and believe in astrology have even told me that, “something evil was going to happen to me which Casper absorbed instead and died”. Once again, I do not believe in all this, my dog was ill and passed away; that was the actual case. In India, in many religions when food is being cooked at home, the first chapatti is given to dogs.
Whatever the reasons may be, my dogs have bought a lot of positivity into my life. I am extremely lucky to share a part of my life with Casper and Junior. They came into my life out of nowhere, when I was not even prepared to own a dog. But now, my life revolves around them. Has I not owned any dogs, I would have missed out on the best parts of my living. I am thankful and grateful for this beautiful experience.
It’s never easy to let go of someone we choose to love. We still want to hold them tight, if not in our arms, then in our heart and mind. We struggle to sleep at night; because we are recalling all the good memories. Suddenly, all the bad times vanish and we wish we could get one more chance, to make it right.
And suddenly, we only see the light when everything gets dark, and the darkness doesn’t scare us anymore. It has become a safe haven for us as no one can see our tears and the sorrows in our eyes. No one can hear us cry loudly in our hearts. We are just so scared to sleep, as sleep has become our biggest enemy. And the only thing that matters now is hold their hands and their heart whispers “I Love You”.
We thought, when someone says “Goodbye”, it would not be a sad thing anymore as no tear is worth it, but only the last voice of them we wanted to hear for safekeeping whenever we forgot what it feels like to Love. Their voice grows louder and louder without their presence. The crickets are singing, the dogs are barking, the stars are shining bright, but we can only see the lonely moon, all alone in the sky.
Our eyes are moist, and for a second, we feel everything in our hands is snatched in a fraction; all at once. A night where we feel most alone; when the world is asleep awaiting for a new day, we feel the hollow which isn’t a hollow anymore, but everything we need for now.
The winds have stopped blowing, even that inside our lungs, they took our breath away as they vanished into the horizon. And love maybe the strongest feeling of them all, but often it’s the one that isn’t enough.
We sacrificed our bodies, our souls, our hearts, put it upon our sleeves, but love had no mercy upon us. Now, we are standing only skin and empty bones under a sombre sky; waiting for the endless night to end or wanting the darkness to never go away.
But if we never let go, we will never allow ourselves to have a new love experience. We will stay stuck as life continues to erode what we’ve once built. A bold wave has movement, some forward and some backwards. Let the wave carry us to where we are intended to be, and this time, not where we want to be. And when the storm passes, the rainbow will finally find its way through.
What we carry in this dark night is heavy. But, the good thing about what can be carried, is that it can also be put down. It’s a terrible feeling, the pain of not being loved. The grief of everything that we lost, but in our heart, we still believe we have. We are in between ashes of losing ourselves and questioning what was left of us.
But tomorrow, we will wake up happy. And if not tomorrow then maybe the next day, or maybe in a week, or a month. But we will make it. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the burden we’ve been carrying. We have done enough. Let the world work its magic over us once again. Let us try one more time to fall in love. Let us forget about the time that doesn’t exist anymore, and create new memories for us.
To the ones who walked away, we were scared to be without you’ll. You’ll used to breathe life into our lungs, and then suddenly we had to breathe on our own. But now, we will learn to exist happily without you’ll. Actually, we can flourish without you’ll.
Let’s be grateful, that life always has HOPE. Let’s be excited for LOVE to find us again.