When I grew up, my 2 brothers and I weren't allowed to have pets. My mother, and I'm sure father were opposed. I remember as a kid wanting a dog really badly. We lived in the suburbs and had a decently-sized backyard. I imagined playing with a dog in our yard and taking him/her out for walks. But my mom's response was always the same: "We can't have animals in the house because your brother and I are allergic." Sigh.
There was even a time a lost dog followed one of my brothers home from school. We actually got to play with this happy canine for about an hour or 2 before my mother called animal control. The dog ran in triangular form from one of us siblings to the other as we cried out, "Here Duchess!", (so christened by my brother Robert). What a let down when our mother couldn't be persuaded into letting Duchess become a family member. As a consolation prize, we were allowed to have some fish and turtles growing up. They unfortunately didn't provide that soft, fuzzy feeling I was seeking.
Fast forward. The years have passed and my life has moved forward from childhood into adulthood. Overtime, my desire and dream for a dog or cat became a distant memory. For a long time I'd actually forgotten about those early childhood yearnings. Things changed though when I met my partner and now wife, Janet. She entered my life and with her came 2 cats. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the 2 furry creatures, but I did and I haven't looked back since. We'd even adopted an 8-week old kitten together after 1 of Janet's cats ran away. We named her Maddie and she was with us for more than 18 years. Joy is not a large enough word to encapsulate what Maddie brought to my world. Suffice it to say that she was and always will be one of the greatest loves of my life!
Janet and I have been together now more than 22 years. We've created what we refer to as our, "Family #2", adopting 2 new, wonderful cats, and, believe it or not, Rosie the dog! My dream, desire, and greatest childhood wish for a dog came through in the middle of my 6th decade! It was a very long time to wait, too long, and I came close to forgetting about that dream all together. But, I managed to pull it back out of me and I'm extremely grateful. Having pets has allowed me to grow into a better person.
My message: Being aware of our dreams and desires is a wonderful place to be. It's even better for us and our health if we can actualize them! If you're not sure about what your dreams are, start by looking at how you want to feel. Within any area in life, job/career; relationship/friendship; finances; home; body size; and others, begin there. As per Danielle LaPorte in, "The Desire Map," focus less on goals and more on how you want to feel in various parts of your life."
Once you get a sense of your desired feelings, i.e., free, abundant, sexy, connected, confident, etc., then ask yourself what you can do to feel that way. And try to match your actions to those feelings. In my case, my childhood yearning for an animal was most closely related to my strong feelings of wanting to nurture and to give love to a companion who would love me back. Now as an adult, I don't think too much has changed. Thankfully, with the help of my significant other I was able to re-connect to that desire and need. And, it has been such a win-win both for me and my 4-legged kids. In closing, I can't recommend strongly enough that you go after your dreams NOW by making time for yourself and looking at how you want to feel in your life. Your soul, heart, and body will thank you for the inspiration, care, and self-love!
D. LaPorte,The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2014).