I am legit taking professional advice from my dog. Real talk.
So the Damn Dog—I mean, I love her but anything that wakes you up at 3am because it’s not sure if it has to pee and then gets a shy bladder because someone in Nebraska forgot to close the garage door deserves a funky ass nickname—oh, where was I? Oh yeah! So the Damn Dog is a 100 pound golden retriever (don’t you judge her! She likes cake…and cookies…and pizza…fine, I’m signing her up for Jenny Craig) and she has a singular desire: she wants to go to the park.
The Dog LOVES the park, she lives for the park. The park is her life. Every time I put on pants, her ears perk up. If I grab a shoe, she’s on her way down the stairs, tail wagging, tongue flapping. My dog knows a handful of words: Sit, Stop, Walk. Where’s your ball? Get out of here, I’m peeing! Basic stuff, right? If I say the word “park” directly to her or in a sentence (with or without context), your girl is looking for her leash. She loves the park. The park is her jam.
And at the park, the Damn Dog is going to do 3 things: shit, chase her ball, and lay in the mud. In that order. Every. Single. Time.
So what does this have to do with career counseling? Check it out:
Sounds gross but we all do it, right? No biggie. At the park, this is the Dog’s first order of business: get rid of the bad.
You ever see a dog hold a grudge? Wake up funky? Carry park politics back to the park? Be pissed off because the lost their favorite toy or because their favorite kibble didn’t come in on time? They don’t do that shit. My dog doesn’t do that shit. My dog is a golden retriever—she literally smiles during the day. When she gets to work—the park—she’s dropping everything that’s gonna weigh her down, everything’s that’s gonna stop her from doing the good stuff: chasing the ball and laying in the mud.
Chasing the Ball
Which brings me to the good stuff. This is the bulk of DD’s time at the park. It’s really simple: she looks at me expectantly, I throw the ball far as I can, she runs to get it and, being a retriever, brings it back. Unless she drops it on the ground and rolls all over it. Or growls at any other dog who might want it. Or takes the ball and runs away from me because she’s a fat dog who got tired of me throwing it. I digress.
The best part of watching my dog running after a tennis ball (which she is VERY possessive about) is when she has to search for it. Retrievers are hunting dogs by nature and, no matter if she’s searching for a duck or a ball, she’s doing what she was made to do. Tail’s flailing, nose to the ground, the DD is the happiest she can be.
Laying in the Mud
Your girl is gonna pamper herself. The highlight of this excursion comes when she’s good and tired of running. This animal finds the wettest, sloppiest mud puddle she can, one where I’m not close by to stop her, and plops her chunky ass in it. And she is ecstatic. She stretches and yawns, might roll to her side, might root around with her nose and then, and when she’s good and fucking filthy, she looks at me like, “What? Of course I was gonna do this!”
And that’s her deal. Until the next day. Here’s the thing: my dog wants to do this Every. Single. Day. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining or flaming hot or 20 goddamn degrees. There doesn’t even have to be any mud. She really just needs the ball and room to run.
So what does this have to do with you…or me?
Imagine living in your element, in the heart of your joy. And getting paid for it. What is your tennis ball? What are you willing to chase each and every day, what gets your tail wagging, your nose to the ground? What is the thing that that you cannot wait to do, that will get your heart pumping at the sound of it?
So I’m taking my dog to the park a lot these days, hoping she’ll show me a little more. Hoping I’ll see what she sees, that I’ll find my park and my ball and that thing I need to chase. Funny thing is it’s 11:43pm and my searching, my thinking, is leading me back…here.