is that it sneaks up on you. It’s like a brooding thundercloud that drifts in on an otherwise fine day.
After wrapping up a really great workout today, as I was walking through the shopping area where my gym is located, I saw two women walking by, each with what I think were American Bulldogs on a leash (or some kind of Boxer/Bulldog mix). One dog was brown and beautifully built. The other was a white and black speckled dog, also lovely, doing its best to hop along while balancing its large upper body on a single front leg. The non-handicapped dog was plodding along as normal, while his friend was huffing, tongue hanging out, attempting to keep the pace without the benefit of a second front leg to distribute all that weight.
I immediately felt a pang of despair upon seeing this, memories of my first Dobe coming back (he had bone cancer in one front leg; I refused to amputate for the very reason I mentioned above…it’s just too much for a tall, barrel-chested dog to cope with). With a gray sky literally forming overhead, I tried not to let my sudden feelings of sadness overwhelm me, so I continued on, leaving the women and the dogs behind me.
After a few paces, I stopped to make a short phone call, and just as I hung up, the women and the dogs walked past me. This time the handicapped dog was at an angle where I could see the now vacant space on its right chest, and as the dog hopped valiantly on its left leg, I witnessed the bones in its right chest/shoulder moving in vain, as there was no longer a limb to move in unison with the limb on the left.
Seeing this tortured me. I suddenly felt the largeness of the world and the smallness of me, here, in a country with no blood relatives and none of my own friends. I thought of my former co-worker who just yesterday lost her father to cancer after already having lost her mother to cancer. I thought of my own losses and loves, my dogs, my people, and I suddenly felt choked with anguish and isolation. I fought tears the entire walk home, also feeling so tired of the constant walking, of the disjointedness of my life at this moment in time. Yes, it could be worse. But it also could be better.
On days like this, I know I am not equipped with what it takes to leave everything behind and make a new life in another country. But then again, I know why this has been so difficult for me, why I’ve never done it before. I’ve never had the desire to run off and live a gypsy life. I’ve never felt compelled to take wild journeys or the road less travelled. And I’ve finally realized exactly why.
When something is missing in your life, you go searching. You fling yourself to far off places or do things that are uncharacteristic. You know why I never did that? Because I was already happy. My life was already great. Someone that once came into my life tried to convince me that traveling and adventure is the only way to live, that a comfortable, safe life is a half-life. I guess I kind of let myself be brainwashed by that a bit, which is probably why I’m where I am today: in another country wishing I was back in my own country. Maybe I thought this love was more than the love I already had in all the other facets of my life back home. Perhaps.
This I do know: the grass on the other side isn’t greener when the grass on your side is already green. But I suppose it takes the upending of one’s life, the annihilation of everything familiar to know for sure that it was all real and all good, even the parts you hated.