I have always been terrified of commitment.
Rather than caving to societal norms, I wanted to spend my twenties traveling the world. You know, like the articles tell us we should do—a “we should get lost before we are found” sort of thing?
I struggled for years with the idea of getting my own dog because committing to a dog means I couldn’t be spontaneous anymore. At least that was what they told me.
I always chose men who I knew I could keep at a distance and then blame them for their non-committal patterns. Yet when they would want to go all in I would retreat within myself.
It was only when I started committing to my life that I began to feel truly content. It wasn’t until I committed to something bigger than myself that I no longer felt the anxiety and constant questioning of whether I was living my life to the fullest and following my passions.
What life are we living if we are constantly running?
I was constantly running.
My first step was buying a dog.
“Are you sure you’re ready?” people would say.
“They are a big commitment.”
They almost talked me out of it, but my heart wants what it wants.
So I brought home a puppy—an eight week old, wild, crazy, fantastic little Golden Retriever puppy.
And so the journey began. Up at five a.m., asleep at 12 a.m. Having a puppy follow you to the other side of the room as you pick up clothes and put them away. Having a puppy follow you to the other side of the house and crying when you leave him in his crate. Cleaning up accidents and hovering when he meets new dogs for fear they will bite his little face.
Calling the vet when he has dandruff and wishing you could be mad when he would chew up your shoes. But you would sit on the floor and cry instead. Singing him “You are My Sunshine” after he gets neutered and you had no idea the pain he would be in during recovery. Finding your balance in discipline and dealing with people constantly giving you unsolicited advice. Being told that you’re allowing your dog to rule your household grows heavy after a while.
But we made it through and now he is over a year old and my complete heart and soul.
He has taught me discipline and selflessness and has made me kinder and more understanding. My love for him outweighed my hurt feelings when others would make comments about what I was doing or how I was handling him. And my skin grew thicker. And I grew healthier, three miles a day healthier. And he grew up and learned a lot too. Now I am no longer dragged by my 80 pound dog when he sees a tennis ball. I no longer have to worry about him body slamming a stranger because he thinks it’s “okay.” We worked it out. And running away wasn’t even an option.
I passed my first lesson in commitment.
And I’ve learned we are as free as we allow ourselves. And I live my daily life with more freedom now that I’m “tied down” more then I ever did before.
We want to run because we think it will be better somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else.
But now I want to build. I want to build a life where I don’t want to run. I want to grow in strength that only comes with facing the truth and allowing myself to take more responsibility on.
I look back at the journey I had with a puppy that became a dog, and how he challenged me to meet his need for balance. I struggled, but I learned, and in turn, I met my own journey.
Author: Emily Gordon
Editors: Travis May; Caitlin Oriel