Every morning, my dog Zoey throws a full-blown party. As soon as you crack an eye open, she is in your face, trembling with excitement at the thought of another day filled with walks, raw meat, naps, and thieving dirty socks left carelessly on the bathroom floor. A point I make in my letter to potential dogsitters is that if you aren’t ready to get out of bed yet, it is imperative that you pretend to remain asleep or you will have Zoey kissing your face and somersaulting into your side (she loves nothing more than morning gymnastics).
While we don’t share all of the same interests — OK, everything but the socks sounds pretty fantastic — I do appreciate her approach to life. It’s easy to forget, in the full-out sprint that comprises the space between getting up in the morning and going to bed each night, that most of us have it damn good, when we take the time to notice.
Just last week I was in California for a piece I’m writing for USA Rugby, and I had gotten in the groove of spending every second ticking off to-do’s. Even the recreational stuff had become tasks I was careening through from one to the next. One morning, though, on my way to meet a friend at a fitness competition, I happened to glance over and spot the ocean between the gaps in condos. I’m not so hardened that I take such things for granted — my home in Minneapolis is about as landlocked as it gets, unless you count lakes. In an instant, I reshuffled my priorities, because I realized I forgot to include something important: appreciation.
I pulled over immediately, got out and walked toward the beach. On my way, I popped into a cute little restaurant for breakfast, and was rewarded with the best salsa of my life — blueberry basil habanero, atop tortilla-free carnitas tacos. Afterward I got my feet wet in the surf, and meditated for 20 minutes sitting on a shelf of sand seemingly built for just such a purpose.
Then, and only then, did I proceed with my day, and I did so filled with a fresh gratitude for the things I get to do.
It doesn’t always take blueberry salsa and crashing waves — look around you for small opportunities to appreciate your life, and wake up each day excited for the many ways you are able to find. Somersaults optional.