The correct answer to this question is always ‘I don’t want to be a cat. I want to be a dog.’ But for the purposes of this discussion one of the dogs is dead and the other dog is as dumb as a box of turnips locked to a bike rack, so we’re sticking with the cat.
This is Kate (cat) and Lulu (dog…..the dead one, not the dumb one). We got Kate as a kitten when we already had Lulu. They became the best of friends, and would frequently chill out in a sunbeam together. Since Lulu was already in the house, Kate never knew any better. Her whole life included Lulu. They were perfectly content, perfectly happy and perfectly together.
Unfortunately, Lulu had a tumor on her heart and had to be put down. It is sad. It also happens to pets. And in some ways that’s the point of this post. Moving on.
After a while, we got a new dog named Brody. Brody is large, clumsy and would not score 30 out of 30 on a cognitive assessment. He could easily start a nuclear war with North Korea though.
As you can see, Kate dislikes Brody. She doesn’t trust him. When she’s sleeping, Brody will occasionally lick her entire body with a tongue the size of a holiday ham. This is not something Kate signed up for.
No matter how badly Brody wants to be friends, Kate is just not into it. She is resistant. She is resistant to change, to the unknown, and to serving-plate sized tongues. In fairness, Brody doesn’t sleep in sunbeams. He chases them like an idiot. But he does sleep in front of the fire. And that would be nice for everyone.
Change is the only constant in life. You’re going to change jobs. Maybe spouses. You’re going to piss off a close friend. You’re going to get old, get frail, lose money, get it back, scratch your car, watch a loved one die.
Kate needs to realize that what she was comfortable with – what she’s always known and assumed would always be – is gone. It’s never coming back. It can be cherished and remembered fondly, but the wanting and yearning for things to go back to the way they were will never help.
She needs to let go. Kate needs to be the cat sitting in the sunbeam, without a care in the world, recognizing that it’s not permanent, but it’s wonderful in the moment. She needs to know, in her heart, that there will be more wonderful moments in the future, even if those moments are with new dogs, new homes and new experiences.
We all need to be like sunbeam Kate.