When my family adopted our dog, Penny, we took a road trip to meet my brother in South Dakota. We drove from Texas.
14 hours in the car later, and Penny was a wreck. She had only been with us for a matter of weeks, and in her mind it must have felt like we were subjecting her to the frigid north for our own, cruel pleasure.
My brother’s first memory of Penny isn’t a flattering one. All the newness and the long car ride must have overloaded her senses, so she tried to back into a corner and hide. That is when she fell off the stairs. Now, I don’t mean she took a tumble down a few steps — I mean she slipped under the guardrail leading up to his house, and literally fell off the stairs. If anything captures Penny’s awkwardness, it is that moment.
And I find myself identifying with my dog more as graduation looms in the future. I don’t like the idea of being restricted to a certain field. I like to keep my options open, like Steve Rogers in Captain America: Civil War. And in moments when I feel like my options are limited, I get backed up into the corner. I become overwhelmed, and sometimes I crash like my dog did. I will stop writing, and just watch stupid videos on YouTube, or something to that effect.
But this fear, this anxiety, is a symptom of something bigger than my desire to have the perfect major, or future job. I think I can be content with in any place. Rather, the fear stems from my insecurity in the work that I do. Especially since I have been on a hiatus from writing, it has been hard to get back into it.
But I have found ways to work against this lack of drive. My starting my day off with production, the rest of my day becomes productive. Rather than read the news or catch up on social media while I drink coffee, I journal. Rather than sleep in, I go on a run. And, if I can, I will get a blog post out. These things feel like productivity, which they are. This helps get my momentum going, so the more difficult tasks aren’t as daunting.
My dog is seven years old now. She is starting to get grey in the face. She still is timid at times, but she has made strides. Maybe the sensation of feeling cornered dissipates with time. And maybe I’m more like my dog than I thought.