Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Dust In The Wind April 20, 2014

It could be as silly as a lost toy. Or as heartbreaking as a forever person. There is truth in the philosophy that sometimes it takes the loss of something to recognize its value. But the instigator in me can’t help but challenge this particular truth to a dual. So to you, truth, I stick my wagging tail in the air and dare you to chase me. Dreaming Big

Because it’s there. The elephant in the room. The meaning behind the ideology. The real truth. Appreciate what you have while you have it and you won’t have to worry so much when it’s gone. It’s why I didn’t use to believe in bucket lists. They seemed to morbid, too sad and too real all at the same time. But that’s because I had it all wrong. A bucket list shouldn’t be something you put together only when you get horrible news. It shouldn’t be squeezed into the last few precious days, months, or years of life. No. A bucket list should be lived.

I turn six people years old next month. That’s approximately 42 in people years. I’m no spring chicken anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be young at heart. Just as it’s never too late to dream big, I realized today that there is nothing morbid about a bucket list if it’s put together for the right reasons. So today I put mine out there, in writing, for the world to see. Not because I’m dying, but because I’m living. The future starts now.

A Bucket List – Wiley C. Schmidt

1) Publish a book

2) Eat a hot dog (with ketchup and a bun)

3) Meet a celebrity advocate for animals (maybe Ellen? Or Ian Somerhalder?)

4) Go on a blind date

5) Run a marathon with mom

6) Meet and properly train my doggie replacement in the Schmidt family

7) See a movie at the theater

8) Attend a sporting event

9) Travel to Tennessee (I hear it’s beautiful there)

10) Have a steak dinner with my people

11) Watch the sunset over Lake Michigan

12) Master a trademark trick

13) Become a best friend to a little person

14) Swim in a lake

15) Ride in a fire truck


Dreams Are Dreams September 13, 2013

Some things just aren’t meant to be. It would take a miracle (for example) for me to fly. Or ride a roller coaster. Or walk on the moon. Just because all of these things happen frequently in my daydreams doesn’t make them real.

But let’s say (just for a minute) things that happen in our dreams really do come true. I could finally catch those elusive squirrels that taunt me in the backyard. I could whine my doggie guts out on The Whizzer at Six Flags (yes, the starter coaster – don’t judge). And perhaps one day us dogs will walk on the moon. How amazing would all of this be? Snarky Sparky

I think there’s general misconception about these things in our society. We have our dreamers who think anything is possible, we have our realists who keep the dreamers grounded, and we have our pessimists who don’t bother thinking outside the box. I (obviously) fall into the first category, but I have characters in my life who I know have given up on their dreams. They may not say so, or even admit it to themselves, but they’ve stopped reaching for those goals. And it breaks my heart.

I’ve said it before, but it seems even more relevant now. The journey can be half as much (if not more) fun as the destination if we only let it be. It’s one thing to drive across America to get from A to B. It’s something totally different to stop and see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas on your way to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. To take the scenic route through Minnesota instead of the highways. To hike through the mountains of Tennessee rather than drive. These are the moments that make a journey worth living.

There are two ways to look at things, and I think this dog Frankenstein is the perfect demonstration of both.

To our realists, it appears the prize is just out of reach. To our pessimists, the goal is simply unattainable. But to our optimists, our dreamers, it looks like he is (at the very least) having fun making his dreams come true no matter how stubborn and challenging they may be.

I think we can all take a lesson from Frankenstein. It’s one thing to respect that some things just aren’t meant to be. Let’s face it: the chances of me ever being able to fly, ride a roller coaster or walk on the moon are pretty slim. But dreams are dreams and I will still have fun trying.


A Day in “Our Town” January 10, 2013

I do a lot of thinking about my future. Where I want to go, who I want to meet, what I want to accomplish.

Among my most exciting destinations are the warm sandy beaches of North Carolina and the rocky river trails in Tennessee. I’d really love to pick the brains of doggie stars like the ones in the Ceasar dog food and Traveler’s life insurance commercials. And I aspire to have my words touch the hearts and minds of canines and people all over the world.

But today I was reminded that could all be taken away from me in the blink of an eye.

“Dogs’ lives are too short,” turn-of-the century American writer Agnes Sligh Turnbull said. “Their only fault, really.”

While I appreciate Turnbull’s sentiment, its a stark reminder that our time on Earth is limited. We should live each day as if it were our last and all that. Most importantly, we are to notice the little things about even the most seemingly unimportant of days and cherish every moment before its gone…a lesson learned from Thorton Wilder‘s character Emily in “Our Town.The Blink of An Eye

After dying in childbirth, Emily longs for even the most mundane parts of what was so boringly familiar to her in life. She has an epiphany when she finds joy in the moments she used to take for granted. I’ve always found the story a bit depressing, like a snapshot of something too painful to think about.

Thinking it over today made me realize its important to occasionally think about the painful things. Its not easy for me, so for inspiration I turn to a singer-songwriter starlet from whom I am not to embarrassed to say I have received a great deal of emotional education – the dearly beloved Bette Midler.

“I always try to balance the light with the heavy,” she said, “a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.” I know I can’t see color, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate sequins and fringes. Tears, on the other hand, I avoid at all costs. It’s Bette’s kind of balance I need.

All of my time spent in the future is keeping me from enjoying parts of the present and almost completely suppressing the past. As it turns out, that’s no way to get to the future after all.