Sunday, September 5, 2010

Have a Snack and Forget It

On most days when I crawl out of bed in the morning I refrain from making any predictions about how the day is going to go until I've had a reasonable amount of caffeine and a good, hard look at my to-do list. If I then click over to my e-mail and stare with little comprehension at the subject lines it's a fairly good bet I'll be having one of "those" days.

You know what I mean—one of those days where you have to flog yourself to actually accomplish anything at all. For me, there's usually a direct correlation between motivation and the amount of sleep I didn't get. You'd think I'd plan for that by now.

Horses experience the same thing, except we're their to-do list and e-mail all wrapped up into one, and if we didn't bring it all to them, they wouldn't waste time worry about it. Some days Eddie (my horse) will meet me at the gate, ears up, practically wagging his tail. Other days he'll stand at the far end of his paddock and look at me with complete indifference, if he bothers to look at all. I know exactly how the ride is going to go before I even get a halter on him.

It boils down to this: I care and he doesn't. I want every day to be my best effort. I take it as a personal insult when my body or mind can't seem to get it together enough to cooperate.

Eddie seems to accept the day to day variations. He always makes an effort to do what I ask, bless his heart, but when he's less than sterling he still expects his treats and is just as pleased with himself when we're done as he is on the days when he's wonderful.

It is what it is. Don't waste energy worrying about what it should have been. Make sure you get a treat for your effort because, after all, you did try. And, for heaven's sake, relax. You can't change what's already happened and, who knows, tomorrow might be better…but don't let that interfere with the moment.

If horses had a philosophy that would probably be it. We might do well to try it out once in a while.


  1. That is one smart horse. thanks for sharing, Susan!

  2. Another great lesson we should learn from animals. My dogs & cats are like your horse. They take the day for what it is. Feeling lazy? Sleep all day. In high spirits? They chase each other around. Then again, their to-do list doesn't pile up and threaten to suffocate them when they choose to ignore the world for a day or two. I'm not so sure that humans are as superior as most would like to believe. :)

  3. Thank you Susan for the much needed reminder to take each day as it comes. I tend to put way too much expectations on how it should unfold and how "productive" I should be. Today, I'm taking it one moment at a time. At this moment I'm sipping coffee and watching the rain. The To-Do list can wait.

    Best Regards
    Lora Deeprose

  4. I'm all for writers getting free room-and-board, plus regular grooming and exercise as we work on our opuses!

  5. I think Eddie would like your idea, Joyce...with the possible exception of the work part :) Maybe he'd go for an hour of work a day!

  6. Great post, Susan! You make a good point about taking each day as it comes. Sometimes I believe animals have it over humans by not being so distracted by the constant multi-media bliz or nagging issues we get tangled up over. Thanks for sharing your (always) wise insight.

  7. Your comment about wanting every day to be your best effort really says it all. It's a nice lesson to think about accepting what happens in any given day, and rewarding the effort.

    Good post!

  8. Sometimes I do get stuck thinking about "what it should have been" and lately its been more often than not. Thank you so much for the reminder to just sit back, relax, and reward myself for my efforts. This was a great read and a great lesson. I'm glad I found your blog!

  9. Thank you for stopping by Rose! It IS easy to get caught up in the "shoulds." I think we all need reminding every now and then. Hope you'll keep coming back!