“The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I was of the opinion that Albert Einstein has said this quote. As it turns out, it could have been either him, or maybe it was Mark Twain, Ben Franklin, Rita Mae Brown….
We really don’t know.
But whoever said it first was brilliant. For me, this is the way I lived my life prior to this blog. I wanted to do different things, but never quite had the time/couldn’t be bothered to make the effort. In the last few years I made just one exception to this rule: with fingernails clasped tightly around my laptop, wild horses couldn’t drag me away from my writing.
However, in order to write I let a number of other things slide off the edge, while others are so far back I can’t even see them in my rear-view mirror. Some of these things included: exercise, eating a few vegetables, baking and getting more than 6 hours of sleep. I can make excuses: I work a full time job, write in my “free time”, and do chores on a daily basis. The problem is that I can sell that excuse to others, but not to myself. Health should always be a top priority as without it I know I will be unable to help family members if the need arises, I can’t cross chores off that very long list that is consistently under revision, and at some point I might not be able to work if I am particularly delinquent in taking care of myself. I know this to be a fact. And these are all things I need to fix.
The other problem with me doing the same thing over and over again with a particularly neglectful inability to change course: I lost my zest for life. It’s mind-numbing to eat the same foods, walk the same routes, and go to the same places. My best dog in the world that we nicknamed LBM (Little Brown Monster) feels the same way. I watch him drag his paws down the stairs and then collapse on the ceramic floor as he lays beside the front mirror and waits for me to bundle up. I know he plays me; he stares at himself in the front mirror as he turns his head looking at himself and wonders, do I look sad enough with this face?
But then there’s the honest times that LBM can’t fake when we begin our walks together: his triangular head is bowed, tail limp, ears flop forward nearly dragging on the icy, snow-covered road as he lags so far behind me the retractable leash flaps in the wind.
The exception is on Saturday’s when I take LBM to a friend’s place where there are woods that he can run through and play with her two dogs. She summed it up best when we arrived one morning and we watched LBM wiggle and launch forward with so much excitement he nearly pulled my arm out of the socket and then she said, “I love how he walks on his tiptoes.” And that is how he walks, well, more like prances, when he’s happy.
Today, I changed the route. I took him to a completely different trail not far from where I live. Imagine my surprise when we arrived and I saw several paths that showed “No Dogs Allowed.” I have to admit I was slightly annoyed as I looked in several directions and tried to come up with another trail that we could attempt. When I swung my head to the far right, I was relieved when I noticed a sign that showed dogs allowed, but for the love of god pick up after them. (No problem here. I always take care of my dog’s business.)
As me and LBM started on our walk together, we didn’t have the shelter of woods to protect us from the 40 KM winds. My foot sunk into the snow as I trudged up the hill where above us power lines swung back and forth from the gusts of wind. Snow whipped at my face and I dug my head into my scarf for protection as I simultaneously curled my fingers together inside my gloves to keep them a little warmer. I was grateful that I had checked the weather before leaving and saw a temperature of -17 degrees Celsius with the windchill and had taken the extra time to wear my SUPER warm socks.
When I peeked my head up, I saw LBM prancing on his tippy toes, his triangular head held high as his nose surveyed the area for new scents, ears happily flapping in the wind. The path ended up cutting through a part of a subdivision and continued for some time. We managed to do about a half hour before I called it quits and we made our way back to the car.
I know I would have preferred snow covered trees to marvel at with wooden bridges to cross over, with curious critters that would peek around tree stumps to get a look at LBM and me as we weaved our way along the path. But LBM was still overjoyed at going somewhere new while at the same time slightly annoyed with my picture taking.
It’s easy to do the same thing over and over again but the results will be the same. So here’s to doing things differently and putting some zest back into life.
THE POLAR PLUNGE: T- 37 DAYS
(Please don’t be -17 degrees Celsius with the windchill.)