awake and dreaming
I am of two minds. Awake and in a dream state. I haven’t had five hours of straight sleep for two weeks. This state is no blissful Maryland. It is a foggy and distracted state like coastal Washington. I’m tired, eating badly and not exercising. I need to shave my legs. I keep forgetting to floss. Well I don’t actually forget, I’m just too tired to bother.
Truth is, I’m a bit of a mess and my back aches from bending and chasing and scooping and barricading. I feel like my house is under siege — invaded by a furry little dictator. Levi is his name and he’s an 11 week old golden retriever. And for the record, he only chews, gnaws and takes. He does not retrieve.
And the crazy part of this dream is that it’s not a dream, it’s not going to end anytime soon, I can’t go back and, we — foolish naive people that we are — we invited him in. We beckoned, wished, searched, found and flung open our arms to this — our first dog.
People told us, “oh you’ll love it”, “oh it will be the best thing you’ll ever do”, “oh he’ll become a part of your family”. Sounded great. We heard the warnings too, “oh a puppy’s a lot of work”, “oh prepare not to sleep ever again”, “oh you know it’s like having a baby”. But we shunned those warnings. We knew better. We knew we were ready and we knew, in our heart of hearts, it wouldn’t be that bad. After all, we are home a lot, we have a small family, we love walking and running, and we have more than enough space and time in our lives for this little being. HAH!
The time is never right to turn a perfectly peaceful life upside-down. But we did and this is where I am now. Missing what I had and squinting through the fog of this dream state to try to see more clearly what this strange new land I now inhabit looks like and feels like.
We’ve all been here if we’ve lived at all. Something new comes into our lives. We start school, we get our first job, we meet someone special, get married, have kids. We continually make choices and then, when the dream state of fatigue and overwhelm begins to clear, we adapt and we learn to put one fluffy slipper in front of the other and bag yet another lovely morsel of poop left in the snow. We do what we have to do.
No one said new was easy.
New might be soft, sweet, adorable, playful, loving and curious. But new is also a stranger to me – a guest who is not leaving, who demands attention, even if it’s three in the morning. New wails, bites and eats paper towel rolls. New doesn’t care if he’s chewing his designated chew toys or the freakin’ legs of my furniture. New has taken up residence, made himself quite comfortable and forced the three “old” people living in this house to make room.
There’s a part of me that’s wigging out – wondering when this “guest” will become a member of the family and do his part – whatever that is. When I’ll stop feeling like I’ve made a huge mistake. I go from gushing over his big puppy dog eyes to wanting to cry. I go from joyfully watching him leap in the snow like a rabbit to hoping he’ll quit whining and let me sleep.
My dream state is riddled with rough terrain that wavers between love and animosity, joy and weariness. But it also has a glimmer of beauty on its horizon. I need to wake myself a little to see it. I need to lift the fog. I need to get back what I never lost and see what has always been there — the good and the love.
How will I do this? I will practice patience. I will shower even if he’s howling in his crate. I will get back to yoga while he naps and start drinking my green smoothies every morning even if he doesn’t like the sound of the blender. I will fuel my body, my soul and my love for my puppy with healthy things. I will rest when I can and not worry about clocking how many hours of sleep I get. I will take back my life little by little, but recognize that plans might have to be flexible and that change is not the end of the world.
At times, you too may have found yourself at odds with those around you or with your life’s circumstances. You may have felt like a guest in your own home or like someone has intruded into your personal space. Perhaps it’s the demands of young children, pets, jobs, parents, friends or a boss. Perhaps you’re rattled by a disruption in your daily routine. Maybe you’ve become unclear as to how to proceed as per usual.
The dream state takes over even though you’re awake. It’s that feeling like you’re floating through life but you’re not really a part of it somehow. To lift this sense of weariness we need to take care of ourselves and realize we are not in this thing alone. We can ask for help. We can let go perfection. We can be where we are, even if it feels a little off or weird.
Where I am is tired. But I’m healthy, happy and safe. I have a new life in my care. I have more than my share. I am blessed. This is a dream state I can live in.
Be there with me. Embrace the basics – love, water, food, exercise, cuddles and fresh air. My puppy taught me that. I do love him. And I do love you for being on this journey with me.
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