Everyone must find their own way
By Alane Cunningham
One of the smartest quotes I ever heard about retirement actually came from my husband when he said, “Everyone must find their own way.” And it has been fun watching everyone do just that. Some friends have moved to warmer climates. Some friends have gone back to work due to the economy or boredom. Some have used their time to pursue hobbies, such as painting or golf. Others have just used their spare time for enjoyment away from the day to day routine of work.
While it has been fun to watch some friends, there has been an alarming trend that is not so fun to watch. That is the addition of pets as a family member. And when I say family member, I mean they have become surrogates for a displaced love that I am sure most of their children would argue they never received. When a pet becomes the focus of the family it is not a pretty sight. I urge you to take a look at how you interact with your pets and ask yourself if you are treating people as well.
I know I am treading on thin ice to write anything that could be construed as not loving animals. In my defense, throughout my life we have had pets. From dogs, cats, fish I can appreciate that they do bring joy to many aspects of life. However, I am going to tell people a little known secret that will not be believed by many, but I swear it is true. Life can be as good, or in some cases, better without pets. And yes, I know research shows that petting an animal can lower your blood pressure. However, the other day watching my neighbor trying to quiet his barking dog, I wondered how his blood pressure was doing then. Not having to worry about rushing home to let the dog out, or not having to clean a litter box has a certain appeal. And the trend of taking your pets everywhere you go whether it is to a friend’s house or public place is not shared by everyone. Be respectful of those around you as your pet may not be as endearing to others as it is to you.
While, unlike pets, people may not always offer unconditional love, try pouring your affections toward people and you may be surprised to find that these interactions can be as fulfilling as those you have with your pets.
About the Author: Alane Cunningham is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.
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