One difference between dogs and humans is dogs live in the present. I am always worrying about the past or the future, but my mutt is worried about what is happening at that very moment, whether it’s getting his head scratched or chewing on a bone.
I often find myself stressed out because no matter what I’m doing, I’m concerned about what I have to get done throughout the day. After I get out of bed, I’m worrying about a 2 p.m. appointment or an interview I have the next day, or what I have going on at work. Before I start a long-distance run, I’ll waste time thinking about how I’m going to fit it into my schedule, and that stresses me out. As I eat breakfast, I’m planning out my day in my mind, checking email or organizing my apartment between bites of cereal. My mutt on the other hand is happy to just get up, eat breakfast and go for his morning run or walk. He is not concerned about how he will do at his next agility class or how much time our workout will take. He takes things as they come. And let me tell you, my mutt lives a very stress-free life.
I do not always give my boyfriend my full attention when he is talking to me because my mind is occupied by something else. At work, I am never fully focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s what my mind is trained to do in this world, with juggling ten projects at once, cell phone interruptions, call waiting, instant messaging and information being thrown at me, crammed into my tight schedule with no time to relax. I could get more things done, and do them better if I could focus on things one at a time.
Today, Ace is not worried about how I yelled at him to be quiet yesterday or how I lost my temper with him when he pulled too hard during our run this morning. When I let him out of his kennel, he is happy to see me, and not upset with me for putting him in there in the first place. He never holds a grudge. But me? My mind often wanders to past events and I become upset. I replay instances in my head and beat myself up over what I should or shouldn’t have done.
I think it is healthy to think about the past and the future, to learn from mistakes or to share happier memories with others. I also know goals are important. I write plenty of goals myself. The best thing to do is find the proper balance between living in the present, and allowing the right time for reflection and planning ahead. By living in the moment more often, I can learn to be more productive, handle stress and develop better relationships. So I will take a lesson from my mutt and try to focus on every moment for what it is.