"Where is it? Where did the weekend go?"
Ever find yourself lost? I know it's a random question. I mean, lost, in terms of where you fit in the world. This is a question that hounds both Loki and me.
At 13 years old he's still working, still out to prove his value and defend this place that he calls home. He's still motivated to work, whether we give him a job or not. Every day, he takes on his role to alert, protect and connect to us. I can pop him out of a nap for a hike or training game in no time. He's always ready to go. Mainly though, he enjoys work that involves basic agility, fetching items or searching for lost clothing articles. I use this drive to maintain his fitness and health. At his age, I monitor his movements and watch how hard he pushes himself. Occasionally, we pull out the famous Loki leap, which he enjoys, but we make sure it's done safely and in a controlled environment. I can tell he doesn't want another TPLO surgery so he self-monitors his agility as well. He still patrols, or as we like to say "f**ks shit up" every night. He will often do a short patrol in the middle of the night should an unusual noise reach his satellite ears. The one thing that remains consistent: he never stops doing something, anything really, which seems to help define who he is while bringing him the satisfaction of being valued. We'd be idiots not to value him. After all, he saved our house from burning down. I pity the maroons who dismissed him. They had gold in their hands and threw it away.
Sometimes I wish I had the intensity of his drive, but I have enough problems sleeping. We're alike in that we both battle anxiety. I'm not really sure the origins of his anxiety. I have a few ideas but I can never be certain. Some of his anxiety seems to be genetic, while other anxious behavior definitely points to learned anxiety. Once a dog bark-attacked us, by surprise, from a moving white truck. For a split second, it scared the bejesus out of us. Now he holds a grudge against every white truck and pre-emptively strikes HBO-words at the ones we see. It's never a red truck or a blue truck or a black truck. Only white trucks. Over the years, his anxiety has lessened and we're sure by now he doesn't fear being cast out of our home. He's sensitive to my own anxieties and he rises to the occasion to do what it takes to minimize it. It's a constant struggle maintaining my own calm state to keep him from wigging out 24/7. It's not good for him, nor me. Staying grounded for his sake is actually good for me. In that sense, just by being my dog and companion, his work is done.
The origins of my own anxiety are slowly revealing themselves to me as it is fairly new to me and popped up just these last few years. But like Loki, I'm also searching for my place. This past year, I've been balancing re-launching my site as a combination business and personal blog with deciding where to market my skills in the writing industry. It's challenging to be a writer in a global ecosystem that favors content you can read in 2 minutes and paid at .03/word. Who can survive on a pay rate like that? So many variables fall into how you market yourself and which gigs you choose. Re-launching my career from a marketing communications consultant to a general writer is more challenging than you'd think. The upside is I've written tons of material in the healthcare and tech industries. Yet, I'm constantly searching for what kind of writer I will be--almost as if I'm not one yet. It's almost laughable to admit that out loud given the sheer amount of entertaining content I've written for this blog while officially unemployed. None-the-less, I struggle with defining my niche. Content marketing would be a likely fit for a previous Marketing Communications Consultant like me. I've written a huge amount of content in the print and web media. I've also written for radio and speeches. Yet, it's easy to burn out quickly copywriting in marketing environments that favor hyperbole. Many companies preferring content that brings popularity over content quality can be a drag for the intellectual. For that reason, editorials and storytelling appeal to me.
Either way, I have two books that keep me occupied as I define myself in work: a Lyme disease recovery book and the second edition of Wild Distractions. While I don't have the intensity of Loki's drive, my passion motivates me to write these books. I'm not sure if either book will be wildly successful. All I know is, I won't get hung up on the search. Instead, I will do what Loki does. I will do something that keeps me writing. It's who I am whether I share my work with you, a client, the world, or just myself. I can no more give up writing than I can give up breathing. So like Loki, I act. And that feels right.
As for Loki, snuggling his head between your thighs and out the back is typical behavior for him. He is a trained SAR and article search dog. Maybe this is how he searches for love and acceptance.