Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

Working for It

on July 24, 2015

Neal's Cool SpotFor the last few months, my cat Neal and I have been at a bit of an impasse. He stopped eating the food I set out for him—not completely but definitely less than before—and seemed to only want the pricier canned stuff. Now, I’m already limited by what I can give him as he needs the dry food for sensitive stomachs. Found that out the hard way. Unfortunately for him, I can’t afford to give him two cans a day. And I definitely can’t give him tuna every day, which I’m sure is what he most wants.

So I tried several things—adding water or chicken broth, giving a little yogurt with it (on the advice of the local vet), even mixing in a bit of gravy. He seemed to enjoy it, at first, then wouldn’t finish it. Which meant I ended up throwing the rest away. I was frustrated, and he was losing weight.

A few days ago, though, I caught him up on the kitchen stool where I’d set the cat food bag, trying to get into it. All while he had plenty sitting in his dish just a few feet away. Well, for heaven’s sake, I thought. What is wrong with this cat?

Then I remembered something I had read recently. Cats are hunters. So I set the bag on its side on the floor, where he has to dig it out with his paw. And, just like that, he’s eating normally again. As far as I can tell, his hunter instinct told him it wasn’t worthwhile if he didn’t have to work for it.

Once I figured out the solution to our problem, I thought, Well, this would be a good anecdote for a blog article. I can write about my tendency to make things harder than they need to be.

Mexico - Days 1 - 3 067

While visiting the town of Chapala on Lake Chapala, we met this man on the dock. He made these little boats, then painted the base with your name, the location, the date and palm tree scenes. He sold them for 30 pesos–about $2 each. The little girl is sad, I believe, because she thinks he’s giving me her boat.

But then I wondered: what if Neal has the right idea? Maybe the good things in life are better when we have to work for them. I just returned from a week-long trip to Ajijic (AH-hee-heek), Mexico, where poverty and wealth walk hand in hand. Tall, brick and mortar walls hide lush, ornate estates as easily as they do the poor homes. I couldn’t tell which kind of house we were passing unless I caught a glimpse through an open door.

While there, I enjoyed the relatively easy vacation of a gringo—though I ended up sick and miserable at the end—and yet I was relieved to return to the complacent, pampered life I enjoy here. Yes, a lot of that was because I was ill, but I grudgingly admitted I am a spoiled American. My financial struggles are nothing compared to what other people endure. Many of the best things in my life came my way with little effort on my part.

So, I ask myself, what would happen if I did strive a bit more? If I took more joy in the work of my hands? How would that change my life?


2 responses to “Working for It

  1. Carole Brown says:

    Ponderous thought! But one we all should think about. Just in case . . . Good post.

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