By Cheryl Hansen
My dog and I embarked on a long walk the other day. I always let her walk in the grass alongside the path to give her paws a little extra cushion. So, we both noticed the baby grasshoppers dodging her every step—leaping left and right under my still-very-much-a-puppy’s nose.
They were pretty much irresistible. No pup in her right mind could avoid snapping at each of them—proper walk be damned. And while I appreciated her purely joyful reaction to these tiny creatures, I noticed she totally missed seeing a bunny, a couple squirrels and a black lab (she loves black labs).
I realized that we all have our own grasshoppers stealing our attention in every aspect of our lives. For my health endeavors, my grasshoppers are all those day-to-day events and temptations and detours that distract me from my goals. Movies mean popcorn or candy. If a friend invites me out for happy hour—I have to order a drink and share her appetizer, right? Looming deadline? I should skip yoga and buckle down. Making banana chocolate chip pancakes is really making memories, isn’t it?
Just a bunch of grasshoppers. And though there is surely joy in all of it—if I chase each and every one, I’ll miss my own black lab. It boils down to what’s more important to me: eating a few nachos with my bestie or celebrating that looming birthday in my skinny jeans? The part I didn’t really get until recently is that if I choose the latter, I don’t have to tell my BFF I’ll catch her later (like in 20 pounds). I can meet up with her. I can socialize. I just don’t have to eat the grasshopper… er nachos.
While it’s taken me 40 odd years to figure this out, my pup is actually way ahead of me. Because after a mile or so of chasing baby grasshoppers, she just stopped. They were still there—tempting her—but she had her eye on the path ahead. In case, you know, black lab.