Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Sky Full of Stars July 23, 2014

When we’re little, we can’t wait for it. It’s like something we have our own internal countdown for, just waiting until that special day arrives. Then it does and we wish it hadn’t. Birthdays. From the ground up, I’ve come to wonder about them, mostly because I’ve always thought I would know when that day came. That day, when I knew beyond a doubt that I was completely and utterly grown up. That day, when I felt on my game. That day, when I felt wise.

Well I don’t know about you, but I haven’t yet recognized such a day. At the tender age of six people years old (which is equivalent to about 42 doggie years old), I say with complete honesty that I can’t say I’ve ever actually felt like a grown up. Not in the traditional sense of the term anyway. But today, as I paused to watch my forever family for a bit, I realized maybe it isn’t about that.Think with the Heart

I sat by, as I always do, while mom and dad had dinner together. More recently, dear baby Carter has joined them for dinner as he eats various concoctions of what my people call “solids,” which (at least in my opinion) greatly resemble soups of various homemade flavors. His options thus far include mango, sweet potato, broccoli, avocado and (as of tonight) banana. And it’s all very exciting both for him, as well as my beloved forever mom and dad.

Today as I watched what is my reality unfold I realized I am, in fact, living my dream. I can’t say I knew what it would look like when I was a puppy. I know I was like anyone else, looking forward to being a grown up more than anything else. I couldn’t wait for the outside world to see me differently. To see me as a grown up.

Today I realized none of that really matters as much as remembering your inner child. Sure, it’s fun to think about what it might be like one day when you’re all grown up. That one day when you have everything figured out. That one day when you feel wise. But I realized today being grown up has absolutely nothing to do with that one day. It has everything to do with the days that follow. It has everything to do with how you move forward, how you make a difference. How you live.

So today I recommit my life to one of wisdom. I recommit myself to seeing a sky full of stars whenever it’s in front of me. I recommit myself to live. From the ground up, that’s about as simple as it gets.

 

 

Labor of Love April 29, 2014

Matilda is her name. Selling high-quality wood furniture is her game. Well, sort of. I guess you could say she assists in the sales of the furniture, although I would argue toward the former.

The seven-year-old golden retriever has been living the dream with her forever people since she was a puppy. Every day, she enjoys a 30-minute car ride (every day!) with her people (Skip and Joyce) to their furniture business, where she spends her days napping in between greeting visitors to the store with bright eyes and a wagging tail. Apparently customers have been known to stop by just for some time with her. It sounds like a dream job to me. And, at least from what I heard mom telling dad earlier today, it has been a dream job for her (and her forever people) for the last seven years.

Longer than that for Skip and Joyce, who have owned and operated the business for the last 30  years. The time has come for them to retire, and do a very sad thing for them – say goodbye. To the business. But that’s not really what they’re going to miss. They’re going to miss the people. And the people are going to miss them. And Matilda, of course.2014-04-29 13.35.44

It all got me to think about this thing people say about doing what you love in life. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. That was thrown into question for me today, thinking about the time these people spent working 12 (plus) hour days to run their business.

They rarely (if ever) took a day off since the store was open seven days a week. They never travelled together. And, while I know they wouldn’t change a thing about their experience, they worked. Hard. Their love for the place was stronger than the oak they sell, but that doesn’t mean it went without effort. On the contrary, it was because they loved it that they put in the passion it takes to keep a small family-owned business afloat these days.

“Commitment is an act, not a word,” suggested French philosopher Jean Paul Sarte.

Sometimes it is the act, the effort, that makes the whole thing worthwhile. Commitment. From the ground up, I imagine it to be something resembling the four-legged sense of loyalty (which is stronger than oak as well). Certainly dear Matilda knows a thing or two about that. As do her people.

 

 

My Big American Dream March 6, 2014

Nobody’s perfect. Sometimes life just sucks. Momma said there would be days like this. But here’s the thing. That inherently implies there are also days like that. When things feel pretty perfect. And life is wondrous in all its glory. That was today for me.

For the most part, it was like any other day. Same old routine. I can always sniff out excitement though, and today it was definitely in the air from the start. It wasn’t until this afternoon when two men with big cameras and lights came to visit my forever home that I found out what all the fuss was about. Our family was “image cast” to appear as a normal family living the American Dream for a promo for a local news station. Family Photo (Throwback Thursday)

It’s a concept I’ve thought a lot about my whole life. What is normal? As a puppy, I longed for normalcy. I wanted to be like those puppies I heard about who found homes with a mom and a dad and kids. I wanted the American Dream before I understood what that phrase even meant.

Today it made sense to me in one of the most real and honest ways yet. The photographer men had mom doing “typical” things a mom and baby would do in the morning like getting baby Carter out of his crib, rocking with him, and changing his clothes. And Carter behaved like a champ. But my lesson came to life when one of the photographers said it.

“It’s okay if he cries,” he said to my mom. “We want this to be real.” We want this to be real. Now there’s a thought. Because I know so often what we see on TV and social media isn’t always real. It’s airbrushed and edited and perfect.

But nobody’s perfect. Sometimes life just sucks. And there are indeed often those “days like this.” But these are the real moments that remind us to cherish the times when our dreams are realized. These are the moments that make life worth living. These are the moments that bring the American dream to life. That was today for me.

**Stay tuned for the promo, set to hit local TV stations by the end of March! Spoiler alert – I’m featured in it too, so it is going to be pretty cute!**