Between moving this blog from Google’s servers onto my own WordPress install and (somewhat ironically, I suppose) working through the process of backing up thousands of my old photos in my Google account, lately I am inundated with photos of the past. It is weird to see old shots of myself on Steen where both of us look significantly younger than we do now. This is possible because I’ve had him for a decade now. Like, literally, in just a few weeks Steen and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary.
That is nuts. I don’t feel old enough to have owned a horse I purchased after college for that long. I don’t feel old enough to not actually look young anymore.
Beyond that, seeing all these photos reminds me of our glory years with the horses. For a while there, we were riding and traveling and learning and training and teaching and just overall steeped up to our ears in horses in a way we just aren’t right now.
I’ve also been sick. For like a month now. Which is weird. I’m used to being mostly healthy all the time. But then I caught a cold and it would not quit. I’ve been struggling with fatigue that’s made it difficult to see to the needs of my business. As the weather stays relentlessly dismal, the horses are more an afterthought in our lives than ever right now. I mean, we still ride. We both still teach as well. We’re out there most weeks and every weekend.
Still, the feeling for me is more of treading water more than moving ahead.
However, I came across an idea the other day that was interesting. It was this article that talked about unhappiness as a palette cleanser.
The idea is that we humans are programmed to adapt very quickly to our circumstances. You walk from a dark room into a bright room; you blink a few times and then you forget the change ever happened.
Happiness can be the same way. If you get to a point where things are great, after a while you just adjust. And your sensation of being happy fades. You just are what you are. And while it might be good, it’s also normal.
So the function of less happy times can be to cleanse the emotional palate. If you push through a tough time and get somewhere better, you appreciate it more when you get there.
In terms of the horses, I just keep telling myself I need perspective. Yes, we’re doing less with them than it feels like we should. We have some major major major stuckness in terms of Piper’s lameness and what exactly to do with Laredo.
However, ten years ago I didn’t even own a single horse. I had just moved to Iowa. I was a little lonely and unmoored, far away from family and friends, working a few part times jobs and barely scraping by.
Things are better now. Way better. Maybe in some ways they’re not quite as good as they were four years go, but in other ways they are just as good or even improved.
It’s easy to focus on the ways in which things have changed for the worse. But that’s not actually super productive. So for now I’m giving myself permission to embrace this phase of difficulty as setting me up for the greater happiness that’s hopefully waiting just around the corner.