Friday, November 30, 2012

adult stuff.

I'm not really sure anyone reads this anyway, so even though my thoughts are all jumbled I am still just going to write about what I want.

It's kind of weird to think that there is just one month left in 2012. I don't know where this year went, but I am partly okay with moving on to next year and new things and new focuses. This year has had crazy exciting moments and some awfully weird ones, too. Trips to London for the Paralympic Games and New Zealand for a world championship week and Australia for vacation were definitely highlights for me. But this year also held some experiences I'd rather forget, maybe mostly notably the wildfire.

I think when stuff happens that makes you worry and pushes you out of your happy normal comfort zone, it's easy to get stressed out. It's easy to think about all the possible scenarios, because you don't have the answers you want or need to get back to a normal non-worrying place. When you're a kid, no one tells you that there's stress involved with being an adult, and part of it is related to the things in your life that you can't control. Some things you can, and you should be proactive about them. But some things, you just can't.

It reminds me of this quote I found years ago, which remains one of my favorites to this day:
 “Don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens. The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.” — John Steinbeck
This may be more appropriate in some cases than others, but you get the idea.

Another thing that's hard sometimes is being your own person. I've talked about this at some point before because in this digital, social media, connected world we live in, often times it's difficult to stop comparing yourself to other people. We see what other people have (at least, the "highlights" of what people have because people aren't going to post the bad stuff online) and we want it.

In my case, I am 26, and I have an awesome job. Like one I really always wanted and told people I wanted when I was getting my undergraduate degree four-plus years ago. I get to travel. I get to write. For me, it's wonderful. But there are other things I want out of my life, eventually, and other people have them. I want a dog and a house and a family. Right now, I am nowhere closer to those things than I was two years ago, or four years ago. I don't know why. I'm just not there. Part of it is probably that I find it nearly impossible to meet a guy who I want to hang out with, and who wants to hang out with me. Part of it is probably the amount of time I am actually in the city I live in. There are lots of reasons, I'm sure. And sometimes that's okay. And sometimes it really bothers me. I am honest about that, because I am sure there are other people out there who are in this place too. Maybe there's a support group for it. This is a weird age to be, 26. Because you are so happy for all that your friends have, in terms of adulthood, but it's easy to also feel so far behind. Yes, I know, my job is awesome. I get that. I've heard it many times. I love my job. For me, I still would like those other things too.

And maybe I shouldn't be admitting this out here on the internets. The internet is a weird, weird place. You can't always trust people to be who they say they are, because we're hiding behind a computer screen. Or a fake name. Or something. I read this story this week and cringed because I can see how easily it happens. So maybe I shouldn't be laying this out there. But believe me, there are many parts of my life I don't share online. 

Anyway.

I know I have changed over the past four years, eight years, 12 years. I can give you specific examples of how I have changed and how I have not. I probably act like an adult more some days than others. I'm still figuring things out. I see friends of mine who are still in college and trying to figure things out, and I see how I am not there anymore, but I also see how I still am. Does that make sense? As a kid I think I thought that by 25 I'd be some magical adult. Now at 26, I see how that doesn't even make sense. You can't look into the future and know what you will be like. We can't time travel and I'm not sure we'd even want to (unless we were accompanied by The Doctor). We are still figuring things out, in our twenties, our thirties, and probably even into our sixties and seventies.

I'm not trying to make it sound like there aren't awesome things happening in the land of LindsAy. There are. But it helps me to put some of my thoughts out there, and maybe if someone else feels this way too it helps to know we're not shuffling into our adult years on our own. There are some interesting twists and turns ahead, and even though at times we may feel stressed out or down or out or even like champion of the world or on cloud nine... it's just part of it. It's part of living, and being, and feeling. Learning. All that.

But I believe that quote up there. If it's right, it happens. Nothing good get away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

benny.

If you have known me in the past 10 years, you have probably heard me mention Benny.

Benny is the golden retriever who joined my family around Thanksgiving 2002. We went to this little house in the country and picked him out and he was so fat and cute. And small. We were driving home from the little house (which was in Okemos, Michigan), and his name came from the Ben E. King song on the radio - my dad's favorite. (We also joked that it was because we drove by a Bennigan's on the way home.)

Benny was so small he could fit under my dad's chair. Which was not very far off the ground. But he got big, quick. I guess goldens do that.

We'd had dogs before (Blue, Blackie, Murphy Brown - a trio we had all at once and the color names were not completely intentional), but somehow none of them was quite as perceptive as Benny. He knew when you needed a friend. He would sit right up on top of your leg and on your feet. Sometimes he would put his paw in your lap. I think someone probably had him in mind when they coined the term "man's best friend" as it relates to a dog.

Benny always seemed to know where he was headed in the car. He loved riding in the car. If you were going to the drive-thru at the bank, he knew it, probably because he knew he was going to get a treat. One of my favorite stories is of my parents coming up to visit me in college, and bringing Benny. Even though he had never been to my apartment before, they were blocks away when he got very excited. It's like he knew he was coming to see me.

I haven't lived at home for most of the time Benny was part of our family. I was in college and then I moved to Colorado, and my visits home grew few and far between. Somehow, Benny knew when it was me pulling into the driveway. Just this past weekend, when I was home in Michigan for a wedding, I pulled into the driveway in a rental car. As soon as he saw me, it was like no time had passed at all. When Benny was excited to see you, you could tell - his tail would wag so hard his whole back half would shake along with it. He would jump and run and play. Who could feel down with a greeting like that?

Benny liked vegetables, mostly carrots. He would hover in the kitchen when someone was cooking, probably because of bad habits, but also because he knew he'd be able to steal a bite of something tasty. He liked the water and would wade in the lake at our house up north.


Benny didn't like to be left alone. When I was packing my suitcase into the car to leave again, he would always stand near the door at the top of the steps with a look like, "What? Where are you going? Don't leave me here!" He wanted to be included, always.

Benny was special. Maybe it was because he had been part of my life for all of my major life moments. He wasn't there for all of them, but he was a comfort when I needed it, through two graduations and moving and sicknesses and the fire and just plain sadness. He was a wonderful friend, which might make you laugh if you've never had a pet, but many of you will likely understand.

The sad truth is that Benny is gone. He had to be put to sleep this morning, because he was sick. Not long ago we found out that he had cancer. He was not well. At times, you could tell. And this morning he was so, so sick. It was time. Goldens just don't live as long as other breeds.

But that doesn't make it easier to stomach.

I will never forget my beloved B, our Benny. He was a special little guy and and important part of my family for so long. It's always hard to lose a pet, but to give them a good home and make them part of your life and then your memories? That is worth it.