I’m still learning to let go of what others think.
What is our obsession with judging others, anyway? At 27, I am still figuring out what I want to do with my life. I imagine this will be something I never quite figure out, as my goals will always be changing. And that’s a good thing.
I run dogs, and I pet sit.
That seems to be the description for me these days. I’m not happy with that. These descriptions do little to define me.
I love spending time with animals. I love solitude. I love being out in the country. I love to write, take photos, create art.
Spending all day with dogs is a fantasy for many. I have what many people will never have.
I receive emails every week from strangers who congratulate me on doing something they would never have the balls to do – quit their “secure” jobs and (gasp) walk dogs.
Walking dogs is a fantasy job. I can’t believe how lucky I am.
I literally have my own fan club. I go to work and my “clients” are so happy to see me they cry. I have the freedom to run wherever I want to run. I take days off when I want days off. If I feel like writing for a few hours, I do. I get my doggy fix whenever I need it just be kneeling down and hugging one of my many, many best friends. I make a meaningful difference for rescue dogs, and I bring great comfort to the dog owners who worry about leaving their “kids” at a kennel.
If there’s a better job out there than mine, please share.
But let me tell you, walking dogs is not all fun and games, either. It’s not “a walk in the park” by any means.
Running (or walking) all day is not easy. There are days when I am exhausted. My feet hurt. My knees ache. There are days when the poop bags rip and I get shit on my mittens, no joke. There are dogs that jump all over me, and they are often muddy. There are dogs that freak out over something as ordinary as a piece of plastic blowing in the snow. There are days when I’m so bundled up that I’m literally sweating, even though it’s far, far below zero. Sometimes I feel like my face might freeze off, and sometimes I feel like it will burn off. It doesn’t matter. I am “out in it” no matter what.
I’m out there because I want to be.
In addition to the people who want to have my job, there are the people who seem to pity me because they refuse to believe someone can make a living through dog walking.
“Is that lucrative?” “Are you still walking dogs?” “Is that really the best idea right now?”
These are the kinds of questions I still receive from family members and “friends” even though I’ve had a successful dog running business for well over two years now. Really, if it wasn’t working out, I would’ve come up with a new plan by now. I’m an intelligent person.
From both sides of the spectrum – those who praise me and those who criticize – I see people who are very unhappy with their current lifestyles. They are working too hard at jobs they don’t care for in order to bring home what they believe is a secure, hard-earned paycheck.
I am so fortunate to know that I am on the right path. I am finding ways to do what I love, and it’s paying off for me and for others.
In his book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” Tony Schwartz asks the question:
Is the life you’re leading worth the price you’re paying to live it?