With the coming of the new year, many people feel invigorated by the idea of a "new me." We give ourselves goals and aspirations that guide us towards healthy living, and challenge us to be better versions of ourselves. As February comes to a close, many of us will find ourselves fully devoted to these new goals and challenges. While finding commitment to your work and to yourself is of utmost importance, it is also essential to remember that balance in one's life should be maintained, and understanding who or what in your life brings you that balance can be a fulfilling goal in and of itself.
Friends. Family. Partners. Our connections to the world are what ground us in life. They remind us of who we are, who we were and who we want to be going forward. Whether these are long time friends, or newly acquired acquaintances, it is important to remember those in our lives who have brought us joy and taught us compassion. It's easy to let our connections fall away when we're enveloped in our personal projects. "I'll text them tomorrow," "Maybe I'll see them next week," are all phrases we tell ourselves that begin the chain of non-communication. I try to make a point of reaching out to my friends, no matter how deeply I'm invested in my personal tasks. When I take a moment to remember the unique joy and comfort each connection I have brings to my life, reaching out becomes effortless. A simple "I love you", or "Hope you have a great day!" can easily change the course of someone's day, as well as mine! Taking time for ourselves doesn't always mean having to take time away from our connections. Love and compassion are renewable resources that people often forget can be tapped into.
I've been a dog walker and pet sitter for about five years, and the same can be said for our non-human companions. While I don't do as much walking as I used to, I can't deny just how much joy I get from my lengthy list of furry friends- be it dogs, cats, or even bunnies. My cat, Grey, LOVES to keep me up with his meowing (at four in the morning, no less), but I can't imagine not having his company, especially on days when I'm feeling down, or alone. A couple of years ago, when my dad was hospitalized after a pretty severe stroke, I was surprised by the comfort I found in my dogs. One of my favorite boys, Tucker, refused to walk the day I came back to work, and instead opted to sit on his stoop with me, with his head in my lap. We must have stayed like that for an hour or so. It was like he knew something was up, and wanted me to rest, and take a much needed breather. It's something I'll never forget. The animals in my life are just as important to me as my people, and the impact that both have on my overall well-being is astounding.
As important as is it to commit ourselves to our practices and our goals, I always try to stay grounded in the world. Keeping in touch and checking in on friends, both human and furry, is a little action that not only brings light into my life, but is sure to bring them some light into theirs.