This week (8/20)

This week I have been angry about:

People commuting with dogs. I hate the idea of pets being fashionable. Animals shouldn’t be fashion accessories because it encourages unscrupulous breeders. But it seems people want to have a fashionable dog to match with their fashionable bag and fashionable lifestyle. Small dogs seem to be popular with the hipsters who catch my train. Two types of small dogs in particular – French bulldogs and dachshunds.

My train gets pretty crowded in the morning. People get grumpy and push and shove. People aren’t looking down at what’s by their feet, they are pushing into a gap so they can get on the train. And if there is a little dog down there, well, then the little dog might get trodden on. Or kicked. But the owners don’t seem to be aware of this, being too busy either on their phone or chatting to their hipster buddy to pay attention to their dog down amongst the ankles.

I sometimes see these little dogs looking worried and squeezing in close to their owners as more people pile on the train. From where they are, all they see are feet.  And all they must hear is the noise of the train. Is there any air? It must be frightening for them and if it was my dog, I would spend some time on my journey making eye contact with my dog, or giving it a pat or speaking to it, just something now and again to let it know that I’m watching out for it, it will be OK.

And once these people get off the train with their dog, they have to pass through a busy station. The owners usually walk at speed with the dog trailing behind them, the dog doing doggy things: looking around, sniffing the ground, making eye contact with strangers, perhaps watching out for danger. Again, because it’s a busy station at rush hour and people are running to catch trains, running to get to work, they are looking up, not down, so there is a lot of potential for people to accidentally kick or tread on or trip over small dogs. Small dogs who are probably already worried after their journey on the train.

I saw a woman this week chatting to her friend while her French bulldog trailed along behind her. He was doing the doggy thing of stopping to sniff at the walls or sometimes just stopping. But she didn’t. Stop, that is. She kept walking and her little dog got dragged on behind her, which can’t have been good for his little paws. And I don’t know if he was an old dog, but he had a way of walking that looked like he had arthritic back legs (I’m basing this on how my cat walks). So when she got to the big staircase I thought she might slow down or check on her old dog, but no. He jumped himself up these steps that he was only just slightly taller than and it looked like a lot of effort.

But not as much effort as the dachshund that was also making its way up the stairs. The stairs were definitely taller than the dachshund and I don’t think dachshunds are a good shape for handling stairs. This one seemed to struggle, but again, the owner was oblivious.

Why have an animal if you aren’t concerned for its health and safety? Why commute with your animal if you’re not going to watch out for it and make sure it’s OK?

This week I have been:

Suffering with a cold.  Colds are stupid and annoying. You have a few days of feeling bad – fuzzy head, sore throat, drippy nose, sneezing – but not so bad you can take a day off work. And then when your head is aching and the skin around your nose is red raw from wiping and blowing, only then do you concede you’re ill enough to take a day off work sick. I took a day off this week with my cold after two days of battling on without it. I always think I will use my sick days constructively but – get real – I’m off work because I’m sick, so I spend my time on the sofa reading or sleeping. I don’t know what I think I’m going to do – mow the lawn? re-grout the kitchen floor? I just have this compunction that sick leave can be used for constructive purposes instead of – hey I’m sick! – resting and focusing on getting better.

Dreaming, meditating, practising gratitude.

This is all part of the Find Your Ikigai course I’m on. It’s handy that it follows on from the #BestDecadeEver practise of following your dreams. I didn’t really get far with my dreams under BDE but here I had much clearer instruction on what my dreams should look like. Make it present tense like you’re living it now, make it detailed so you can see exactly how it looks. And I’m not talking about the ‘last night I dreamt I was talking to an underwater parrot’ dream, this is the kind of childlike ‘when I grow up I want to be…’ dreams. I realise I had shut my dreams off over the past years, focusing instead on what is practical, real. Waiting for some perfect moment to arrive when I could start acting on them again (“…when I win the lottery…”). Instead, I need to start acting now, and that’s why I’m working on my book. Not every day but most days. And I feel good to be progressing with that.

Meditation I’m not progressing super well with. I try and do it first thing in the morning but it’s always possible I will just fall back asleep. Instead of the ‘just breathe and clear your mind’ method, I’m trying an old method that has worked for me before – I run through the alphabet backwards. It requires enough thought to keep your mind active and takes up enough thought space to stop other thoughts from coming up.

Gratitude. I thought this was one of those stupid, pointless things. I’d read numerous articles that encouraged a gratitude practice and dismissed this all as nonsense. But after huge skepticism, I gave it a go and… although I don’t do it every day, I do find it helps me to reframe things in my mind. Looking for positive things does make a difference to how you see the day. I don’t do it every day but I can now kind of see the benefits of it.



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