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Friday, January 11, 2013

In the new year, learn a lesson from the pets

The holiday season has passed, leaving us with cold weather and a bulging waistline to remind us that winter is here and will be for the next few months.

It's the time for the customary New Year's resolutions that we swear we will stick to this year. Most resolutions I have made in the past revolve around eating better and exercising more to lose weight, or being a better person and doing good deeds daily.

For a change, I am making this New Year's resolution one I hope I can stick to. It shouldn't be that hard because I will have a daily reminder of what to do every day for the entire year. The resolution is to learn to be more like my pets. I don't mean I intend to shred furniture, bark at nothing, or bite and scratch myself all night to annoy my family. This year, I am going to try to have a better outlook on life and enjoy things the way my pets do.

For starters, I want to begin every day the way my dogs and cats do. They are so eager in the morning to see me and to interact with everyone in my family. There are no morning attitudes, arguments or anxieties about the day ahead. They are just excited and happy to be up and to be part of the family.

Because I want to stay married, I probably will not do exactly what my cats do and start the day at 5 in the morning by jumping on a family member's chest looking for breakfast, but I am going to try to start every morning with a positive outlook and believing that this could be the best day of my life.

Another goal is to relearn how to enjoy the little things that happen every day. I am envious of the pure excitement that my pets exhibit when I give out treats or introduce new toys to them. Even something as routine as feeding time is a moment they seem to truly savor. And the excitement level is off the charts if we do something slightly different, such as going for a car ride or taking a new route on our daily walks.

It reminds me of being a child when nothing else mattered in life but to enjoy every moment as it occurred. It is easy to get so caught up in a busy lifestyle that we don't get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. So this year, I am going to follow my pets' attitudes and really enjoy the little things that probably will be the important things remembered later in life.

One thing all of us should learn from our pets is how to relax and take downtime. With the economy making it even more difficult to let up on the gas pedal, we need to remember to occasionally take a break and smell the roses. Cats are probably the best teachers as they love to take siestas. They have figured out how to be at their most efficient level.

Whether they are outside hunting or inside playing, cats seem to know how to take it easy after expending some energy. They know that they need to rest to build up energy to be able to work at full strength. Watching them find a spot in the sun on a nice comfy bed reminds me how important it is for our health to take a break and recharge our batteries. Resting should make us feel better and be more productive at our work.

The unconditional love pets give also is something to strive for. The pure excitement and love our pets show when we get home is a lesson on how we should enjoy life and our families. Even if I step outside for just a minute, my pets are always happy to see me again. They are great teachers about family dynamics as they are loyal, loving, faithful and protective of everyone in my family.

Pets don't hold grudges and are always eager to spend time with family members. No matter where we are or who is around, they love to cuddle and are never reluctant to share hugs and kisses.

With a new year, there is little benefit to dwelling on the past, pondering what went wrong or what we should have done. A new year is a time to enjoy today and be excited about what is to be. Take it from the pets, which always seem to be happy; know how to relax and enjoy a break; and are thankful for every meal and spending time with the family. This year, we should all resolve to be a little more like our pets.