My dog Knight (a 90 pound Lab) and I have a long bedtime routine. I hand out tiny bits of dried chicken, we share popcorn, and, lastly, in the tin canister there are dried liver treats (high value moola in doggyland). I count out treats. “One, two, three, four, five, SIX! That’s how many you get!” Even though the canister is full, Knight paddles away, knowing that six is how many he gets.
I’ve been struggling with finances these last few years. Maybe somehow I’ve decided that six is all I get. Maybe I’ve decided that’s all I’m worthy of. Because of health problems I haven’t worked, and if you don’t work you generally don’t get money. I’ve made money from investments in the past but somehow I’m not motivated to venture that way. Somehow I’ve decided that poverty is my lot in life.
Back when I was 11 years old I wrote in my diary, “life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.” I don’t remember how that came to me, but I’ve found it to be true in so many ways. If we expect trouble we often are guarded and tense, which causes people to react negatively towards us. If we think a new acquaintance might become a dear friend, we are warm and sunny with them and sure enough we become bosom buddies. If we expect to fail at something, we use tentative language like “try, could, maybe” and our downtrodden attitude brings us to failure. On the other hand, when we are feeling positive about a project we use words like “will, going to, for sure” and we take small steps daily to bring us to success.
In the past I’ve used anger to program my brain to expect good things. In a fit of rage I’ve promised myself that I would achieve something I desired, and I would suddenly choose to do things that led me to my desired outcome. When I lost my home to an ex, I swore I would buy a new home within a short period of time, and I found myself wanting to work 15-18 hour days in order to make my promise to myself come true.
So maybe it’s time for me to smarten up and stop accepting that I only get six treats. I’ve always known that you can’t get anywhere unless you know where you want to go. I know a person needs to set goals and not be afraid to dream of better things. So, I will make a list of what a better life will look like. Will you join me in dreaming big, or at least bigger? What would your ideal life look like?
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.