I’ll be honest. I’ve put off writing this post for some time, because today would have been her 18th birthday. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write it. Instead, I knew penning this story would bring up many emotions that I wasn’t sure I was ready to confront.
Over the years, I have written several posts about my miniature poodle, Gidget. From my references to her in other posts, one could easily tell how much Gidget was a part of my family. Sadly, on Friday, October 13th, 2017, Gidget passed away in my arms at the age of 17. Just writing that sentence makes my heart break and brings tears to my eyes. Losing a pet is tough. The house is quieter with a sudden emptiness in all the rooms, and days no longer consist of vet trips, feedings, and asking, “Where’s Gidget?” However, during these past ten months, I have learned what it means to love and be loved by an older pet. The lessons are ones that people, no matter what their life consists of, can relate to and use.
Enjoy the present and don’t worry about the future. Gidget started getting sick late spring of last year. My family began to grieve and dread what life would be like without her. Yet, Gidget was still with us, not in pain, and could have a couple of months to a couple of years left. From this, Gidget taught us to enjoy the present and not worry about the future. Changing my mindset and starting to live in the present with Gidget made all the difference. Reflecting on her younger years and funny memories became easier because we were still making special moments. The future comes far too quickly, and the best thing anyone can do is to live in the present.
Be thankful for the times you spent together.My opinion might be a little biased, but Gidget had the world’s biggest personality. She was sweet, friendly, sneaky, a ham, and a major cuddle-bug. She always knew how to put a smile on a person’s face and how to get all the attention. (Ever had a dog who would take a small piece of food and “attack” it in front of everyone just to get all the claps and praise? Yes, that was Gidget.) Looking back at all of these times, I am always brought to laughter. A piece of advice: whenever you are feeling sad and missing a loved one, reflect on the good times you spent together. This is just one of the many ways you will feel closer to them.
You’ll never regret spending time caring for a loved one. Everyone has their own way of taking care of loved ones and should do what works for them. In my family, we treated Gidget like an elderly human family member. When she got really sick and even before that, our lives rotated around her and her needs. Life was busy during this time, with vet trips three times a week for fluids and assisting Gidget with her feeding four times a day. However, if we were given the chance, every single member of my family would do that all over again, because, in return, Gidget gave us love. As I mentioned above, she was a huge cuddle-bug. It was our nightly ritual for me to hold her on my chest as we drifted off to sleep. Towards the end, Gidget never wanted to be put down at night, and I don’t look back at the loss of sleep and everything we did for her with regret. This is the same with other family members and friends. Go the extra step for them when they are sick.
Love never truly leaves you.Whether it be a human or a pet, loved ones will always stay in your heart, no matter what. There are little reminders of Gidget throughout the house, just like there are reminders of my grandfather, who has passed away. In her later years, Gidget taught me that she will always be a part of this family and will keep loving us, even after she’s gone.
Loving an older pet is something very special. You and your animal grow closer on a different level, and they become more dependent on you. In return, your pet gives you extra love and many memories, just like Gidget gave my family and me.
It happens to most people. Every once in a while, during a conversation, you think, “Is this person lying to me?” You then spend unnecessary time going over their words in your head, thinking about whether or not what they said is true. However, sometimes detecting a liar is something that can be easily done in less than five minutes. All you need to look for are certain actions and movements a person does when they are lying. Body language says it all, and I’ve got your tips and tricks for spotting a liar.
According to Dr. Gregory Jantz, in his article “6 Ways to Detect a Liar in Just Seconds,” more than 80 percent of lies go unnoticed. To prevent this from happening, start by asking neutral questions. Listen to how a person responds to questions about the weather, their hobbies, etc. Be attentive to their body language when they are telling the truth by watching their eye movements, stance, and hand positions. This will help you suspect any unusual actions for when they answer questions that are in the so-called “lie zone.” These questions are ones that aren’t rhetorical and require more in-depth responses.
After the neutral questions are complete, begin observing a person’s facial expressions, responses, and body language as a person replies to personal questions. Surprise questions are another way to bring out lies. Most of the time a person pulls their body inward when lying and shrugs their shoulders. Also, they might become squirmy, jiggle their feet, and hide their hands to prevent fidgety fingers. Lastly, look for any hand gestures towards the face. These gestures, along with the other body movements listed above, are signs of distress and dishonesty. Research shows that President Bill Clinton touched his nose 88 times during his Lewinsky testimony.
Watch for any facial changes and microexpressions, which are brief expressions that are used to conceal emotions. Sometimes a person’s face can exhibit a light shade of pink color as if they were flushed, or they may flare nostrils. Other ways to tell include biting their lips, blinking quickly or not at all, and perspiring. Shifts in body language and facial expressions occur during lying because there is an increase in the person’s brain activity.
In the article, “An FBI Agent’s 8 Ways to Spot a Liar,” former FBI agent Justin Bariso states to listen more than you speak, meaning liars will talk more and in more complex sentences to stop the truth from getting out. He suggests being on alert if a person speaks faster, louder, and has a cracking in their voice. All are indications that the person is stressed. Repetitive coughing and clearing of the throat are clues of tension, as well.
Bariso also notes that one should watch as someone says the word “no.” A person might be lying if they do one of these characteristics when answering “no”: looking in a different direction, hesitating, closing their eyes, stretching the word out, and replying in a singsong manner.
Along with paying attention to the way a person speaks, pay attention to what they say. Some signs of a lie are: refusing to give details to short answers or providing too many details, speaking more formally, over-exaggerating or giving numerous compliments, and making contradictions to early parts of a conversation. Also, look for repeated phrases when talking. Sometimes a person will have prepared their answers for expected questions. When caught off-guard, they are more likely to show inconsistencies and stressful behavior.
Unfortunately, almost every person in the world lies at least once in their lives. However, some lies have more negative impacts than others. If you suspect someone is lying to you, use the tips above to decide fact from fiction.
Recently, I have discovered the value of self-care. In the past few years, I did things that I considered to be self-care, but never truly understood the importance of taking care of yourself. Yes, I love to help others, but to effectively do so, I need to make sure I’m healthy and able first. Also, it is helpful for me to divide my self-care into “categories” of physical, mental, and emotional. That way, I can make sure all areas are covered. Below are some ways to fit self-care into your daily schedule:
Go for a walk
Play with a dog
Clean and reorganize a space in your home
Take a relaxing bath
Read a book
Turn your phone OFF
Do a DIY project
Take a long, deep breath
Watch an old movie
Practice yoga or exercise
Light a candle
Talk with a friend
Write down a list of things you’re grateful for
Take a nap
Bake cookies for a family member or friend
Donate or volunteer
Whether it is an hour or only five minutes, take time for yourself every day. Sometimes you have to make yourself a priority, in order to be a better person for the ones you loved.
As I look back at another year, I realize 2017 was full of ups and downs. I started working towards my graduate certificate in middle grades education and are now getting ready to be in the classroom. I have been given excellent writing and leadership opportunities at Forsyth Magazines. There has been tons of love and laughter; however, there has also been a good deal of heartache.
My grandmother had a stroke back in September. Yet, praise the good Lord, she is now completely back to normal. I learned the reason why she had a stroke. It was to diagnose her cancer, which is now treatable with daily medicine. If we discovered the disease at a later time, who knows what would have happened. My doggie, Gidget, spent the year battling health problems. At 17 years old, she had her good and bad days, until she passed away in my arms in October. Lastly, I experienced my scariest morning and night. The morning was when I saw my grandmother have her stroke and waited for the ambulance to arrive. The scariest night was when Gidget passed away in my arms. I have never experienced that level of grief and I’m still processing my new life, months later.
2017 was a year of discovery. I learned more about the person I want to become and how I can help change the world. Gidget taught me more about love and how to believe in more than what I can see. Little signs related to her appear all the time and I know it isn’t coincidental. My anxiety and depression diagnosis gave me the chance to learn more about mental health and become an advocate for mental illnesses. It is okay to not be okay. I have a better understanding and grasp of what is going on in my mind and how to handle it. These struggles helped my family grow closer and man, are we stronger. Nothing is going to keep us down.
I’m ready for what 2018 holds, because I know 2017 has prepared me for whatever life throws at me. I am brave. I am strong. I am loved. Here’s to another year. God bless it.
There are some times in life where the struggle is too real. I mean the moments where you thought you were already tough and you get tougher. Well, this has week has been filled with them.
You see just before midnight on Friday, October 13th, my dog of 17 years passed away (more about that in a later post). Since then, I have been trying to adjust to a new “normal.” In the mist of that, my grandmother is recovering from a stroke and had a bone marrow biopsy. The biopsy was to determine whether or not she had cancer, because of high platelets. This past Thursday, we received the results and while it is still “cancer,” it is the type where she can take a chemotherapy pill each day for the rest of her life and be fine. However, between the 13th and now, I have been on edge (great for my anxiety, great right?) and in constant worry about what else will my family go through? Haven’t we had an enough? I’ve told God many times, “if you are trying to make us strong, I think we’re strong enough.” Then, it hit me.
This. Is. Life. Life is a constant battle of finding beauty, laughter, and love, through the pain and struggle. I have become tougher during these past two weeks and I hope I continue to become tougher. This fall has been a challenge yet I have discovered more about myself and where I want my life to go. As hard as it has been, I don’t regret anything, because I know more about the person I am meant to become. Everybody has these moments and once there are all said and done, you’ll scream a loud “amen, I made it!” These times only make you stronger, tougher, and more grateful for the sweeter moments in life.
I have always been a big component of learning from others and being inspired by them. To motivate other human beings is a big task, one that not may people achieve.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “inspire” as to make someone want to do something and to cause something to happen or be created. Looking at this definition, I realize how many people I look up to and want to make my actions and life be like theirs. Of course, some of our role models are celebrities, world leaders, and athletes, but what about our family and friends? They inspire and motivate us as well.
Over the next few posts, I’ll look at my biggest motivators, who had the courage to help make the world a better place. I hope you join me on this journey. After all, you never know who will inspire you and who YOU will inspire.
“Work for a cause, not applause. Live life to express, not impress.”
Earlier this week, I turned another year older. For many, birthdays come with the thought of getting older. For me, birthdays come with the thought of getting another year to live.
Birthdays are always a big thing for my family and friends. There is cake, decorations, and events throughout the day. This is just a simple reminder to remember how important the birthday person is in everyone’s lives.
Each year I’m thankful for getting another year to be in this world. I’m thankful for getting another chance to take risks, to love, and to experience the ups and downs of life. With each birthday, there is a sense of renewal and a new beginning. Maybe that’s because I’m reminded just how loved and special I am to those in my life.
So, whoever’s birthday is next, whether it be a friend or family member, make sure they know how important they are to you and celebrate their special day, like there’s no tomorrow.