My little Bichon, Boomer, is now a senior. I guess technically he's been a senior for a few years now. We just visited the vet for his annual checkup, and at age 14, he's doing remarkably well. Sure, he's slowed down quite a bit, but no more "wear and tear" than most dogs his age. In fact, considering he has had two back surgeries, the latest of which was less than a year ago, he's quite a little inspiration. You know, living with an older dog is full of life lessons. It's not that you can't learn these things from a younger dog. You can. But as the pace slows down, I believe there's more time to observe what we're supposed to learn. I've probably said much of this before in a different way, but as I look at him sitting so serenely in front of me, it brings it all back again. What kinds of things has my little zen-master been showing me? It's things like:
• Life is best spent living each day in the present; without worries about tomorrow or regrets from yesterday.
• Some things as simple as a walk outdoors can be a treat and an adventure.
• When you have an itch, scratch it!
• The aches and pains of an aging life may slow you down but it doesn't have to rob the smile from your face.
• Some of the best, most meaningful moments require no words or conversation.
• It doesn't matter if you last saw your friend 5 years ago or 5 hours ago, greeting them with enthusiasm every time makes everybody feel loved.
• A sweet disposition can negate the potential disaster of a bad hair day.
• Always look for the good in people.
• More can be said with an intense gaze than with a flapping tongue.
• Sometimes what means the most is just being there.
I hope I can grow old as gracefully as Boomer. Something tells me I may have to work on not being a cranky old man. Heck, sometimes I can be a cranky young (ok, middle-aged) man. But having undergone a major surgery that included an extended recovery, I've learned that most of what makes me cranky doesn't really matter that much. It's really not worth the stress. How successfully I deal with that varies depending on what day it is, how tired I am, and what else is going on in my life at the time. But deep down, I know that most of it just isn't worth getting bent out of shape over.
Who knows, maybe there's a chance I can age as gracefully as Boomer after all.