Yes, I am technically comparing myself to the dog

Back when I first got Daphne, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was doing.  Like, yes, I did know how to have a dog, essentially: you feed it, you walk it, you teach it to behave the way you want it to.  This is sort of like saying I know how to have a baby: you feed it, you change it, you try to figure out why it’s crying and how to make it stop.  I still don’t have a baby, so I have no idea how accurate that is, but I suspect it’s an understatement.

In order to figure out how to have a dog and that I wasn’t Doing It All Wrong, I started to read a ton of dog books.  My all time favorite is Jon Katz’s book Katz on Dogs.  Okay, it’s a corny title, but I love me some Jon Katz.  He has written a ton of books about dogs; the first one I read was The New Work of Dogs. Basically, this guy gets that dogs are really important, but also that they are not people, they are dogs.

Why am I writing about this on my real blog instead of my dog blog (um, haha, remember when I said I would stop plugging my dog blog soon?  I guess it’s not soon yet.)?  Because there’s one thing he wrote about that I keep thinking about.  I can’t find the exact quote, but he basically says that crate training your dog gives it a job to do.  The dog knows that while she’s in her crate, her job is to sleep or to chew the chew toy in her crate.  If you leave her home alone outside of her crate, she has no idea what her “job” is, and that’s when she gets destructive.  Maybe her job is taking apart your dining room table, one sliver of wood at a time; maybe it’s trying to find what components make up the soles of your favorite shoes.  The idea is that dogs aren’t destructive just because they like ruining your stuff, but because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing; they need the rules and structure (and quiet time) that a crate provides.

You guys, I need a crate.  I really, really need a crate. I’ve enjoyed this time of unemployment, but I’m finding myself suddenly feeling a little bit lost, a little drifty.  I need structure, rules.  Someone, tell me what to do?

I had my great How to Be Unemployed Tips last week, and I maintain that they are good ones.  But I’m also discovering that they are not enough for me.  How can I have Time Off if I don’t have some hardcore Time On?  So here’s my public declaration: starting Monday, I will Do Better.  If no one else is giving me structure, I will make some myself.  Remember, world (and self), the time you spend being unemployed is finite, and you will miss it when it’s gone.

What are your tips for keeping your sanity?  Does anyone want to plan my days for me?  Yes?



Filed under Home, other

6 responses to “Yes, I am technically comparing myself to the dog

  1. Ellen

    I feel crappy/crazy/crabby when I don’t leave the house. LEAVE THE HOUSE. Talk to people besides your wife. Eat healthy food.

    That’s how I’d start. Probs good advice for myself too.

  2. When I was looking for work last year, I found it really motivating to fill my time with little projects and hobbies. It was doubly encouraging, because I’d accomplish something I’d been meaning to (like drawing X or cooking Y), and I’d also be able to give myself little motivating pushes, like “self, you’d better get on that spice mix, because once you have a job you’ll be mighty glad you did it in advance!”

    I don’t know if you’re actively searching right now or just waiting it out a bit, but I found this blog super useful in applying:

    • Oh, that website looks awesome! Thanks for sharing it!

      Turtle asked me the other day, “What do you hope to accomplish while being unemployed?” And I realized that mostly I just wanted t catch up on all the things I felt had been slipping through the cracks: more time to write, to advertise my petsitting business, to apply to school. But you’re right, there are other things, too, like art projects I have never had the time to start and cooking new things, which always feels overwhelming after a long day at work. Thanks for the reminder, Meaghan!

  3. Kristine

    I have found myself in a similar situation and am having similar difficulties. I try to plan my day out in advance, like I would if I was going to a normal job, but it isn’t always easy. There are tons of little things I always say I want to do but never have time for, like actually printing photos, framing them, and putting them up in our house. Our walls are so bare it looks like no one with any family to love lives here. I am also trying to cook more, not something I ever do, but that takes a discipline I’m not sure I have.

    Good luck! I love the analogy.

    • I’ve decided to start scheduling hours, which worked pretty well today. One thing I did that felt revolutionary was ban myself from the internet from 11am-2pm. Really, what can happen in those hours that can’t wait until 2? It makes me look at other life things that need to happen. Today was Day 1, but it worked pretty well. The internet is so fun, but also so dangerous…

      I just need a human version of a Kong. Full of Angel Food Cake. Yeah.

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