Winding Roads

Since I got the two cats that currently own my home, people have asked me the question, “Larry, why cats?” Other than the fact that I am allergic, and grew up having horrible asthma attacks until we realized it was our cat Smiley causing them, I truly didn’t understand this question. People were not asking the question out of concern for my physical health. They were asking because I’ve always been a dog lover, and I have a very happy dog whom I’ve learned to take care of through advice, and trial and error. So why would I gets cats which would present a whole new challenge?

I still didn’t understand the question. I mean, why wouldn’t I want a whole new challenge? Well, honestly, I didn’t know what I was in for.

– Dog eating litter covered Tootsie Rolls and having diarrhea in the house.
– Cats eating dog diarrhea and getting diarrhea.
– Cats wanting to play at 3:00 AM and chasing each other around the house.
– Cats knocking stuff off shelves and counters and breaking them.
– Anything small object that cats can bat around, they will bat around until the object is inaccessible to, and at a minimum hidden from me. Dammit where are those ear buds?!
– Having to fire the housekeeper because I’m afraid of her squashing the cats when she moves furniture that I’ve asked her a million times not to move.

For the past two weeks, I’ve not had a lot of sleep. I’m constantly cleaning. I’ve put in a cat door into the laundry room where the litter box is. I’ve had to break off the flap from the cat door because the cats are afraid of it and won’t use it with the flap closed. I’ve had very little time to just relax, and have some moments to myself to just chill.

I’ll tell you what though, one by one I’m figure out how to either accept or fix each of these problems. The cat door is working as long as I keep the laundry room door closed. The cats no longer eat dog diarrhea because there isn’t any. I can’t keep the cats from playing, but I can use earplugs. I’m keeping breakable stuff off the shelves, or just accepting that things I need to leave on the shelves may just get broken. I keep small objects, especially valuable ones, in places where the cats can’t get to them. And as inefficient as I am at cleaning the house, I’m learning, becoming more efficient, and I’m saving money for the huge vet bills to come.

So what does this all have to do with winding roads? Well, I could have gotten another dog, but I wanted cats. I know how to take care of a dog, and I know that with the way I was living my life a few short months ago, I would be able to take care of another dog. I may still get another dog. But the cats are transforming my life. I’m not as lazy, I’m always moving, my home is better organized. And those free moments that I spoke of I sure do appreciate more when I have them.

I had a few free hours yesterday afternoon, so I got on my motorcycle and rode over to a friends house for a ride to Middleburg. My friend asked the perfect question. “Are you looking to just get there, or to have fun along the way?” Every person who rides a motorcycle knows the answer to this question. Take the winding road. The one that is unexplored, or the one where I can test my skills. We could have taken the highway almost all the way there, but we didn’t. In fact, we never even made it to Middleburg. We stopped to eat, and then headed back home. On the trip back I was following my friend, and there were many signs to get back onto the highway, but we just drove straight on by and took the next curve.

For me, life is not about the straight line that takes me to where everyone, including myself, will eventually go. It’s about zig-zagging and winding around the straight line, pushing myself to become a stronger, smarter, and skillful human being. It’s about learning that it’s not always about my comfort. Sometimes it’s about the challenge of learning how to better take care of myself, so I have more time to be with and take care of the ones I love. It’s not about learning how to predict what is in front of me. It’s about becoming the man who can better handle whatever is around the next bend.

Challenge which educates us, and changes our actions for the better is growth. Growth that makes us better capable of handling the next challenge is evolution. Some people can live in a box all their lives and be perfectly happy. But those who choose to push their boundaries, cause the human race to evolve. Either of these paths is a personal choice. I choose the winding road.

By the way, I’ve not had a single asthma attack since I’ve had these cats. I guess my body has evolved as well.

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