Friday, January 9, 2009

Old Dogs

By Heather

For the sake of long-lasting mental health I like to think of age as a state of mind. Which is probably a byproduct of always feeling like I had an old soul. Some might attribute this to being married so young, having a baby when I was just a teenager myself. But I’ve always felt this way, even when I was just a wee thing, growing up wildly independent and a happy homebody. Yes, I’ve always been a mixed bag of contradictions.

There are some days I feel older than others. You know those mornings. The ones when you look in the mirror and you hate your hair, your clothes, your shoes, your purse, your makeup. I call them frumpy days and thankfully they’re few and far between and often eradicated by mass amounts of junk food and a long bath with a good book (you'd think this would make things worse, but magically it doesn't).

Then there are the more youthful days when I wake up feeling like I can do everything, be everything, and am happy to be so blessed.

That being said… I can’t decide what to think about that saying that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

For example, I’m hoping this (old in spirit) dog can learn to recycle more. I’ve decided that it’s time we started recycling cardboard around our house in addition to the metal/glass/newspapers we've been doing for years. On the surface this doesn't seem like a huge change, but it is. I’m still adjusting to it as I break down boxes from pasta, Fruity Pebbles, Smuckerables, popcorn, my new desk chair, etc. You name it. So far, so good, but just when I’m thinking I can learn a new trick…

Physics happens.

I was helping my son study for a physics quiz of which I understood very little. Did you know there are different kinds of velocities? What, exactly, are x-axis and y-axis? And, come on, is this stuff I really need to know?

This pounded home to me the fact that the well-known old dog saying was taken from the wrong point of view. It clearly was written by someone who thought (wrongfully) that they were the master of the dog.

Clearly, it should have been written from the viewpoint of the dog (the true master):

You can teach old dogs new tricks—but only if he wants to learn them.

Point in case for me:

No way: rock climbing
Want to learn: to speak Spanish

No way: eat raw fish
Want to learn: how to make a cake from scratch

No way: scuba diving
Want to learn: how to put in a paver patio

See what I mean? It's all about the desire. So, for the sake of my ongoing mental health, I hosey no more physics in my future. How about you? What are your no ways & wants to learns?


My prize: A few things to help you through the rest of the winter, including gift cards to Starbucks and Panera. I'll be drawing a winner next Thursday at 6 pm.