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  • lessonsfromadog1

It's Okay to Start a New Life... No Matter How Old You Are!

There really is so much we can learn from old dogs.  Perhaps that’s why I love them so much.  You see, for my entire adult life, I have pretty much had an on-going collection of old dogs in my pack.  Some of these have been dogs I rescued when they were young and they grew into their golden years with me.  Several others, however, have come to live with me in their most senior of years.  Before they were mine they lived entirely different lives.  Some had other animals as companions, all were with different owners, but most I will never know much about where they came from.  What I do know is that, each one of these old dogs fit relatively seamlessly into their new lives, despite the fact they had 75%, 80% or even 95% of their years behind them, they were still able to take things in stride and start over. 

How often do we as humans see age as a limiting factor?  Our society has truly fallen into a mindset of what is a “normal” life progression based on age.  College at age 18.  Marriage in your mid 20’s.  Children in your late 20’s….and so on.  We have gotten very wrapped up in feeling like we need to pick a career before even starting college.  Women who haven’t given birth by their 30’s start to feel like they are “too old”.  Oh, and finding love?  Surely that’s something you only do when you are young, right? 

Well, no.  Wrong…. to all of it! 

You see, it’s okay to start the “important stuff” later in life.  In fact, often times it can be a really good thing because, as they say, with age comes wisdom.  It’s okay to try your hand at different careers before deciding on just one.  It’s okay to work for a while first, save up some money (while developing your goals), and then go to college.  It’s okay to have children a bit later than “normal”, if that’s the time in your life you feel stable and ready for such a big responsibility.  It is certainly okay, and very healthy, to develop into your own person before getting married. 

Why can this be so hard though?  Is it because of what we see on social media?  Is it the belief that we are “over the hill” after age 40 and life takes a downward spiral from there?  Is it because, perhaps, we are afraid of straying from the “norm”?

Whatever the reason is, dogs simply are not the same.  They live in the moment without considering the aging process.  They do not dwell on what the other dogs around them are doing and they don’t fall victim to comparison.  Simply put, they adapt.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all live a little more like dogs when it comes to the aging process?  I think of a few I’ve had in the past…

Gus- a black lab from a hoarding situation.  He came to me at age 10, had to almost immediately have his leg amputated due to osteosarcoma, and immediately took to the other dogs in the household as if they were long lost friends. 

Sadie (pictured here)- a yellow lab who was surrendered at age 14 by the only owner she ever knew.  She settled into my house and within just a few days acted like I had been “her person” her whole life. 

Violet- another black lab who was found as a stray in Cleveland at age 13?  14?  She literally walked into my house (well, I took her in the back yard first), sniffed at my two current dogs for a moment, went potty on the grass, walked back inside, spotted the first dog bed she could find and settled in for a nap.  Ever since, it’s like she’s been here her whole life.

What can we learn from these dogs? Quite simply put, you’re never too old to start a new life.  Go to college in your 30s, start a new career in your 40s, find love in your 50s.  Don’t dwell on what everyone else around you is doing because you have just one life to live, so live it well.  And remember…it’s okay to walk into something new, take a look around, become fast friends with those you’ve never met before, even find a comfy new place to call home, and start a brand new life… no matter how old you are.

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