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Strive for what you love

Dogs have it easy. They adapt well to whatever environment they’re in.

The first year of my mutt’s life was not ideal. He lived with a family that kept him in a kennel nine hours a day, never walked him (not once) and never trained him. Even so, when I met Ace for the first time, he seemed happy. He didn’t know what he was missing, so he was doing OK anyway.

I took him home, began running with him, training him and taking him everywhere, and he adapted to his new lifestyle just fine. If he had to go live somewhere else, I’m sure he’d adapt to his new lifestyle again. That’s just part of being an animal.

Like our dogs, it’s easy for people to adapt to the mundane world around us. But fortunately or unfortunately, we need a bit more to feel fulfilled. At what point do we begin to tolerate what we have instead of dreaming and working for what we desire?

Steve Pavlina had a post last week that said to strive for what you love by quitting what you are tolerating. Many of his posts have a strong influence on me, but this one in particular reached me at a perfect time. Pavlina challenges us to stop tolerating or settling for things in life, whether it’s our careers, relationships, lifestyles, etc., and shoot for what we love.

But at what point do we give up on striving for what we really love? When we graduate from college and land that first “great” job? When we find ourselves stuck in a career path we chose at age 19 (hmm, I can write, I’ll go into journalism)? When we tolerate a relationship or marriage? It’s too bad that as adults we slowly let go and just stick with what we have or what comes to us. We choose the easy option, which is settling for something instead of taking a risk at something better.

At what point in life were you the happiest? High school? College? Middle school?

For most of us, our happiest times were years ago. Could it be because at that point we didn’t feel so trapped? We had options because we allowed ourselves to dream big and no one told us no.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I said I wanted to be a vet, a writer and an artist.

Well, here I am writing about dogs. My wish to be a vet has passed (hate science, bad at math). But my passion for helping animals is still here, as well as the need to express myself through writing. In many ways I haven’t changed, I just need to remind myself of what I really want.

Take your dog out for a long walk this week and ask yourself:

What am I settling for?
What am I happy with?
What am I missing?
What are my true passions?

I hope you find your answers.

(Some of you may have noticed my Saturday posts are often loosely related or unrelated to dogs.)


Monday 28th of July 2008

Great post Lindsay! It is good to think about all the questions you posed.

Mike and I are trying to shake our lives up a bit and move to the west coast (Oregon!) Right now, we both feel like we're settling for something we don't like so well by staying in Colorado. We NEED the ocean! So, we're really working towards moving. He needs to find a job, and then we'll be ready to go! (My job is portable!)

To both of us, our passion is the ocean. We are missing it by staying in Colorado!

I don't have a dog to walk, but my cat Oscar wants to go out with me on leash. So, I'll take him out this evening (pending a bit cooler temps!) and ponder your questions some more!

Thanks for making me think a bit!

Tammys last blog post..Elvis has left the building


Sunday 27th of July 2008

Great post! you pose a lot of important and meaningful questions. I'm honestly happy to say that I'm probably the happiest I've ever been.

However My husband and I are very young and sometimes I feel the entrapment of money holding us back (Must keep crappy job to pay for crappy bills, the usual I suppose) To me it feels like money can really squash the things you truly want. Its important to keep the things that you know will make you happy in the forefront of your mind ALWAYS, goals and such. Like I say, its probably much easier for me to say because I'm still pretty young and am actively persuing the things that I think will make me happy- and I'm not all calloused and abused from the world yet....

I do love your saturday posts too btw

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 27th of July 2008

Hi Bonnie. Thanks for sharing your friend's story. That is an important lesson to keep in mind. I'm sorry you had to lose a good friend. And thanks for the feedback on my Saturday posts. As for western Washington, it sounds like a good place for a nature loving, dog crazy woman like me. That's where I meant about moving, not California. So thanks for the info.

Bonnie Story

Sunday 27th of July 2008

Hi Lindsay! I really dig your Saturday posts. It is amazing what we all will tolerate. Yet, under pressure, we all tend to snap back to what we know. It's so valuable to have the guts to stand back and truly take a look at what's going on. It's so important to start living your real life right now, not just plan to start living it "soon". I had a friend that did that, always thinking she would get around to living the life she wanted instead of putting up with "necessary" BS when the time was right. Well, she was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 18 months later. Really left a huge lesson in her wake. I'm still very sad about losing her.

About moving to Sonoma County, you have to be able to tolerate lots and lots and lots and lots of people. Also the infrastructure down there is totally crumbling. The roads are in ruin. The school systems all are failing. The hospitals are closing. I wouldn't try to raise kids or grow old there. I strongly, strongly recommend Western Washington. If you have not been out here yet, you should do it before moving anywhere!

Also from a dog-owners perspective, in CA all I did was worry about rattlesnakes, fleas and ticks, heartworm, West Nile Virus, heatstroke and foxtail burrs when I hiked with Pepper.

Here in WA there are NO poisonous snakes (!) and no foxtails that I have found yet. No heartworm. No West Nile. No leash laws either!!!! Nice cool weather with trails and beaches everywhere. It's nirvana.

Another note about Sonoma County, there is quite a bit of strife between migrant workers and the law. Gang warfare is sprouting up all over and so is "smash-and-grab" crime, graffiti, all that stuff. Illegal immigration is so very affordable for the vineyard owners that hire workers, but it ise so very expensive for the communities that host them. It's a hot button issue that the CA politicians are not willing to provide leadership on, so it's just festering. Just offering a heads-up to you on that. It's very much a daily factor in the downward quality-of-life spiral in that area.

Jeez I'm long-winded, sorry about that.

Bonnie Storys last blog post..Saying Aloha to Entrecard Program...

Apryl DeLancey

Saturday 26th of July 2008

Great post! I try to live by the adage that says "you get what you settle for". It is so true!

Apryl DeLanceys last blog post..The Great Outdoors Blogspotting