Every time I put food down for my puppy Zeke, he runs to it like he hasn't eaten in ages, just gobbling it up without abandon. On the other hand, my dog Tess - the sweet little angel in a dog suit - does something that makes me verklempt every single, solitary time I put food down for her. She looks up at me as if to say, "Thank you," and then - and only then- does she begin to eat her food. Even at 5 in the morning, it slays me. It's amazing how much that little gesture - from a dog - can break my heart on a daily basis. And, to her, it's nothing more than her own personal perspective at work.
The difference in my dogs is quite simple. Zeke has always known food - we got him when he was a wee little man, so he's never been without a steady diet of food, love, and nurturing. Tess, on the other hand, was rescued by us when she was 6 months old, and I can only imagine the neglect she endured during those first months of her life. I know in my heart she remembers them clearly. If not, she wouldn't look up to me every time I give her food at 2 1/2 years old. Perspective.
It's already closing in on the end of January, and I haven't posted my New Year's resolutions yet. In between switching jobs again (ah, the life of a contract killer...I mean, writer), working 12-hour days and dealing with a flooded house and the renovation that ensued, I have pondered my resolutions from 2007. Did I accomplish them? The majority of my 27 resolutions, yes, except I didn’t ride my bike 20 miles without falling, I didn’t finish writing the novel (I did, however, manage to spew 10K words that are a foundational ball of clay for a someday-screenplay-or-novel, however), and I didn’t re-read The Bell Jar or On the Road. I also didn’t learn Stardust for my grandmother. I completely spaced on that one.
I did go topless on a beach, paid off my couch, bought a beautiful kitchen table with chairs and everything, diverted my cocktail tendencies to cheap Popov vodka, and polished those three or four articles that I’ve had patiently sitting on my laptop. I’ll actually submit them this year. I saw the Dalai Lama in person, invested in more fat Buddhas to make me smile, pet a cow AND a camel, built a house, changed jobs twice, and just plain landed. Settled? I’m not sure if I’ll ever be truly settled, but I have definitely landed. I finally secured tickets to the Foo Fighters, reconnected with old friends and plan to continue that trend in ‘08, and danced more – usually by myself in the bathroom when no one was around.
I’ve learned to never bring a dog into the house after it’s been sprayed by a skunk. Ever. I’ve learned that my body can no longer tolerate wooden rollercoasters like it used to. I learned that I can drive a four-wheeler in stilettos, that I am the mistress of a chainsaw, and that whenever a door closes, another window opens. Or something like that. 2007 was the year that I decided to give the institution of marriage another shot, saying yes to an April exchange of vows with fiance'.
Do I have a list of New Year's goals and resolutions for 2008? I have a big list, actually. My resolutions are simple. Be nice. Have more fun. Don't take life so damn seriously. Laugh more. Play more. Let my guard down. Don't apologize for my honesty. Appreciate the fact that no one dictates how I feel except for myself. That's huge, really. Resolutions are the easy ones to call. Cry, love, and appreciate more. Simple, yet powerful stuff.
My goals? These are different. I usually have a list that resembles a red carpet. This year, though, I'm keeping them to myself. I don't feel like purging them. Instead, I'd rather protect them a bit, feed them and quietly appreciate them coming to fruition. My perspective is different. A new year, a new approach, I guess. So, no numbered list this year. I'll just keep you posted when they all take shape.
OK, there's one resolution I can talk about. I resolve to turn the tables on the bible-thumper that comes to my house regularly. There's a 16-year old fundamentalist Baptist kid who's come to my doorstep twice in the past few months, trying to save my soul and get me to go to his church. He gave me the literature - it's fundamentalist; meaning that women are property and Hell is the scariest place imaginable (so I better be believing in Jesus or else the boogeyman is going to get me and torture me in the afterlife). This is what the kid believes, and that bothers me a bit. He dragged his girlfriend with him the second time. Not smart when you're coming to my house. I think my lip was bleeding, honestly. She said about one word and never looked me in the eye, obviously obeying the pecking order that is her life. I just sort of nod at the kid when he comes over, I take his literature and throw it in the trash. I mean, when a 16-year old kid questions my life, I sort of lean towards the wanting-to-verbally-kick-his-ass approach, but I have refrained so far. My resolution to turn tables is to not be mean about it and not argue with the kid. I mean, I may be mouthy, but I'm not stupid. And, I definitely don't want a church full of fundamentalists burning my Bitch magazines or screaming verses from the Old Testament in my front yard or anything. I just want to give him my view as he's trying to shove his down my throat. I believe in the same God he does, I think. We just have different perspectives on what God is like - his God is one that judges and mine is one that understands. His is one that punishes, and mine is one that forgives. It's that perspective thing again. And, I'll make sure I give him mine the next time he comes knocking on my door. You know the old saying that dog is God spelled backwards? Ms. Larue taught me more about perspective than any human ever has. Figure that one out, and you tell me how progressive of a perspective even God has...