Don’t Judge a Dog by it’s Cover

Adulting

We love our lab. So much. Kyle and I decided about a year ago that we wanted a puppy. Luckily, we found an amazing family not too far away that breeds pure bread hunting labs. If you ever need a recommendation, definitely ask me for more info. You could tell when we picked our puppy up how much they love their labs and how well they care for them. We had to pick between two beautiful, rambunctious male pups, and we knew right away that Ace was the one.

Ace became the center of our lives (our new baby). Most of you already know this, because he makes a regular appearance on my Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. We like to show him off, just a little bit.

I never wanted a big dog. I was a little dog person or so I thought, but when your dog is your own, it doesn’t matter what size he/she is, you love them like a member of the family. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t have a dog, just sayin’.

Now that Ace is 9 months old, he is almost full grown. He’s a smaller lab, but currently 65 lbs. Kyle works with Ace every single day. I take him for a walk and work on training at least 2-4 times a week, so some days he’s working with us twice.

This weekend I was completely defeated. As he was dragging me around the baseball field while I was trying to watch Kyle play, I thought to myself, “none of this training is working. He looks like he’s the worst dog in the world. This is horrible.” If I’m being honest, I was almost in tears at one point.

I could feel the judging eyes staring at me and the laughter and granted, it was hilarious at times, but it looked like we had never worked with this dog a day in his life. He lost most of his training and I know I am being way to hard on him. He’s still a puppy and people who have labs/dogs, know this. People who have never experienced lab/dog ownership truly don’t understand.

My point in writing this piece is that just like mothers with screaming children at the store, DO NOT judge an owner and their dog. Ace is a completely different dog at home. He doesn’t chew up shoes, he doesn’t dig in the garbage can. He doesn’t constantly bark. He doesn’t knock you down when you walk into our home. He is loving, cuddly, and patient. Best lab I’ve ever been around and of course I’m biased, but it kills me to see that other people don’t see that side of him.

I now have so much more compassion for other dogs who get excited around people or who uncontrollably lick and smell you. They might be trained every day, like Ace, but they’re still learning and every dog is different. Not all people are dog people and I get that, but it never hurts to have a little more patience. 

Anyways, I found myself really distraught and angry, especially at Ace after the baseball game this weekend and after reflecting on that feeling a little bit, I came to the realization that it all comes down to feeling judged by others. Feeling like an inadequate dog owner. Truthfully, why do I care? Kyle and I are doing the best we can and most days, we even go above and beyond for our doggie, so who cares what others think or say. It’s not their life and it’s not their dog.

Moving forward I will be patient with Ace and his growing process and I hope those around him can be too!

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Much love from a happy dog owner,

T

 

Things I Discovered in Year Twenty-Four

Adulting, Mental Health

Year twenty-five swiftly rolled in today and to be honest, it’s just a normal day. As you get older the birthdays become less exciting, but that won’t stop me from being ethusiastic and positive about what’s in store for the next year of my life!

As each year passes way too quickly, I start to realize more and more just how short life is. Sounds cliche, but I honestly can NOT believe I’m twenty-five! I do grown up things everyday, but it blows my mind how young I still feel. I decided that age is not supposed to feel like anything and I want to cherish that youthful feeling forever. I always get overly annoyed with people that try to grow up so quickly, like slow down! You have the rest of your life to be responsible and “grown up.” I could just kick my young self right now for never being okay with the age I was at. I always wanted to be older. Now, all I want is for time to slow down a little bit.

As the next chapter of my short life approaches, there are a handful of things I discovered throughout the course of year twenty-four:

  1. Everyone is unique and special in their own way, but most of us are replaceable, especially when it comes to a job or career. So, stay humble and throw that entitlement out the window. It won’t get you far, but compassion, resiliency, and authenticity will.
  2. I need to actually care what I put on my skin, especially my face. Having a skin care routine sounded so old and weird when I was younger. Now I realize that the sooner you start using safe and effective products, the better off your skin will be. I recently became a Beautycounter consultant, because of my strong beliefs in this area!
  3. The phrase “love is hard” isn’t what I thought it meant. Love is super hard when you’re with the wrong person. I’ve been there, but now that I have been with the right person for almost two years…it’s the furthest thing from hard! Love isn’t supposed to be consistently lonely, demeaning, or emotionally exhausting. However, love does take daily mantainence and effort from both sides. It’s supposed to build you up not tear you down. The phrase “love is hard” should NEVER keep you in an unhealthy relationship.
  4. College is absolutely the best time of your life. This could easily change as new chapters of my life unfold, but dang do I miss college life. Being sort of grown up, but not fully comitting to it yet. Having a handful of roommates to get ready with in the kitchen as we plan our house party destinations. It was a time where I got to be around so many like-minded people and they truly filled my heart with joy everyday. It was stressful, but the kind of stress that was almost exciting. Because, betweens the papers and tests, there were kick a** parties, random shopping outings, and nights when I needed people and they were right there even when I didn’t ask for it.
  5. Contrary to what I thought growing up, most adults have no idea what’s going on either. I thought in order to become an adult, like some sort of right of passage, that you had to have your shiz in order. I didn’t think all adults knew everything, but I thought most of them were confident in the life they chose and the career path they were on. Not the case! Life is ever-changing and it’s refreshing, but also terrifying, knowing that we all can choose to switch things up whenever we want. Contentment rather than perfection is my goal.
  6. Salads and vegetables aren’t actually that bad. I’m easily one of the pickiest eaters I know, but it’s getting better! This year, I’ve really flown out of my comfort zone and have added a lot more variety to my diet, like lettuce. Sounds silly, but I never used to have lettuce on anything, but here I am now…just a regular old lettuce queen.
  7. I will not sacrifice my passion no matter where I end up. I realized that big changes are inevitable and money does indeed run the world, but you can always find ways to keep things that set your soul on fire close to you. I made a promise to myself this year that I will always continue my artistic passions. I would rather have my hands in a variety of things I love than work a job where I’m helping no one and achieving nothing. When I start having children, I want them to get motivated by watching their mom fulfill her dreams.

There are dozens of discoveries that I probably forgot to mention and I’m sure they will pop into my head as soon as I lay in bed, per usual! In closing, I can’t wait to dive into year twenty-five fearlessly, with a heart and mind that are open to new adventures.

Thank you to those who have been a part of my journery as I learn to navigate myself and this life.

Much love,

T

Long Distance Relationship: Parent Edition

Adulting, Mental Health, Relationship

Firstly, let me start by saying that we DO NOT have nearly enough meaningful discussions about transitioning into adulthood. Especially in regards to the parental relationships, that we still so desperately need. As an almost 25-year-old, I joke about “adulting” with my friends often and we make fun of ourselves for realizing that we really don’t “have it all figured out.” We are seemingly okay with not being 100% okay all the time, and I am a BIG fan of that transparency! But, at the end of the day we are expected to act like adults, pay our bills on time, know how a mortgage works, and what insurance coverage is the best? Do I have those last two figured out? Nope, not really and I guarantee most “adults” my age don’t either.

I will say that I’ve read a lot about how to spend your twenties and that we should “live it up!” Well, in between the anxiety of not knowing what the hell I’m doing and making decisions that will effect the rest of my life, I do indeed try to “live it up.” Usually by traveling or spending time with other individuals my age that hope they figure out this life thing too. My point is there is much debate on how to spend these vital years. Do we find a partner in college and begin our working lives with them, get married, and start having kids, so we don’t become “old” parents. Or do we live it up, travel, with or without a partner, and then start a family in our thirties? Or thirdly, do we live unconventionally with no regard to societal expectations and just simply go where the wind takes us?

Each one of these lifestyles is absolutely okay in my book, but one thing I have found constant no matter what path you take in your twenties and that is we all start having realizations about our parents. Whether that be that we want to be nothing like them, that we wish we hadn’t taken them for granted, or that they are truly super heroes. This year more than ever before, especially with the holidays quickly approaching, I personally find myself grieving the loss of my childhood. What I would give to crawl into bed, eat popcorn, and lay with my parents soaking up their love one last time. Knowing that through all the stress of sports and school, I still had their strength and safe arms to lean on. I took for granted just how much I relied on my parents to bring me back to myself again. Even typing it out now, it baffles me how much they did for me mentally and emotionally as I would face new challenges. A lot of times I would come into the house like a tornado and they would take it. They weren’t always happy with me and I truly think I put them through hell, but their support never wavered.

I technically have been living a part from them for 6 years now, but my parents sold my childhood home and moved to Florida with my two little brothers about a year and a half ago. That transition has been extremely difficult. I want to be happy for them, but I do feel slightly resentful that I don’t have a “home” anymore. I did move away from them first 4 years ago, so in some ways I feel like a hypocrite. That doesn’t take away from the fact that their move has stirred up some emotional turmoil for me. It’s been tough, but also made me ask myself, “how many other twenty-somethings have parents that moved away and they have these same feelings of sadness and grief?” Another question I’ve been pondering is, “when, if ever, are we supposed to feel okay without our parents and will we always long for that feeling of home?” I mean I think I am doing pretty darn good on my own and it’s been an amazing journey starting my own family (getting a dog with the boyfriend), but I still have those times where Kyle can’t give me the exact same “home” feeling my parents did.

Throughout the past year, I have spent a lot of time contemplating what these feelings mean to me and discussing them with others, especially Kyle and my parents. Through those conversations, I’d like to list some realizations that are still evolving, but important and noteworthy:

  • You are entitled to grieve the loss of your childhood. It is not weird to feel incredibly sad that those simple times where your parents made the decisions, are now in the past.
  • Whether you have a good relationship with your parents or not, they impacted you more than you’d probably like to admit! Realizing that they were human and struggling to “adult” just like we are, helps forgive them for the hurt they may have caused or it helps you realize that they didn’t have it all figured out and they still raised a bad ass, right? 
  • The most obvious realization is that we will always need our parents or adult figures, no matter how old we get. They’re an integral part of our lives, to help us with questions about mortgages, purchasing cars, insurance, etc…Lord knows I need the help!
  • Lastly, as young adults, we absolutely should swallow our pride and have real conversations about this more often. Not just placed periodically within the sarcastic rhetoric about how “adult life sucks,” but REAL heart-felt discussions where we open up about our biggest fears and wishes. 

I’m not positive, but I have a feeling many young adults are going through similar situations, like mine, with their parents. So, if you’re vibin’ with what I’m saying, please reach out! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have been there and what you learned along the way.

Much love & Happy Thanksgiving!

T