(Psst! Kathy here. Have I got a treat for you! The incredible Autumn Tompkins is here to put her Full Throttle spin on the habits! Look for her here every Thursday for the next 13 weeks!)
“Life is adventure, not predicament.” ~ James Broughton
Let that resonate with you for a moment.
Let’s face it: Life truly is an adventure.
You can look at this adventure one of two ways: Either as exciting or as exhausting.
I choose the former, and I choose it with more passion than my dog has for chocolate. And if you knew her, you’d know she really loves that sweet cocoa stuff.
Bad dog parenting aside, I’m not supposed to be here to be a dog owner anyways. You see, I was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. So rare in fact, I was supposed to be dead by the age of three months.
At birth, “They” told my parents to make me comfortable, but not to get attached. I was destined for death. Fast forward a few decades, and you’ll discover I just celebrated my 30th birthday back in December.
My parents never accepted the prognosis “They” gave them. Instead my parents nurtured, loved, and believed, in me and my strength. My parents spent every waking hour praying for my survival. But they didn’t just pray. No, they performed water therapy and various other forms of physical therapy on me to improve my muscle tone as well doing other things to keep my immune system sound.
Keeping me alive and healthy was a challenge. There were ups and downs, highs and lows. Especially from 1988 through 1993 when I’d spend months at a time in the hospital, suffering from chronic pneumonia. In fact, during those years, I spent the same amount of time at home as I did in the hospital. Those down times were severe lows. But then, after 1993, I magically hit a plateau. The chronic pneumonia stopped. And I started coasting through life not quite healthy, not quite sick.
Even with all the baggage I was born with, my parents never looked at life as exhausting. They never looked at it as predicament. They never gave up on me. They never settled for my death, not when my life had just begun. And I know, I’m here solely because of them perceiving life to be an exciting adventure. Even if that adventure caused them years of uncertainty and pain.
Which brings me back to my dastardly, chocolate-loving dog.
You see, I’m slowly sliding off my stoic plateau. With every passing year, I lose more muscle tone, more heart and lung function, and unfortunately, more spirit. I can no longer do things I used to be able to do. I can’t lift a two liter bottle of soda anymore, I can’t be out in the humidity anymore, and I can’t go for long periods of time without my nebulizer anymore.
So in the spirit of do-goodery and making my life richer, I adopted a dog in May of 2013 from my local animal shelter. I happen to volunteer there so I’ve got the scoop on which dogs are perfect for which people.
Her name is Snow, and she’s a deaf pit bull mix. At first, I didn’t think much of her. She was just going to be my companion. But as our soul connection increased, I could tell she was capable of being much more than a companion: she could be my service dog.
Fast forward about a year, and we’ll soon be graduating from service dog school. She’s learning what’s expected of a service dog. Eating chocolate is not proper service dog etiquette. I’m learning to be patient, and to keep chocolate out of the reach of a dog whose sole mission is to reach and/or pick things up for me.
As I slowly slide off of my plateau and admit my body’s failing, I’m entering a new phase in my life. One where I suck up my pride and ask for assistance. Even if it’s from a service dog. But I can’t pity myself or look at life as exhausting. I wasn’t raised that way.
Life’s an exciting adventure. And I hope you see it that way, too.
Autumn Tompkins is the head sass-master at ink well copy. She is a skilled copywriter who creates dynamic copy that captures her clients’ expert voices and generates genuine sales, turning maybe’s into most definitely’s.