Big Dogs, Shopping Carts, and Octogenarians


All over social media today. Anyone know the original source? I’d love to credit the artist.


Tonight I found myself on a milk run. (Why are we always out of milk?) It was one of those “days” and I needed a bit of time with my thoughts, so I told the college student “No, you cannot come with me and study in the car.” That’s his new thing. But that’s a different post.

So, while I’m driving to the store, I pass this woman walking a St. Bernard near the park. Something in the park had the dog’s attention, because his person could barely contain him. His person was petite and she was giving it her best, trying very hard to keep her dog under control. But as I pulled out of sight, it’s anyone’s guess if she managed to keep him from breaking free and tracking down his prey in the park.

A quarter mile later, I witnessed another dog “walking” a person. This time, no potential vermin at play: just a very strong sense of will. Pulling his person forward and up one of the steepest inclines in town. His head down, her arm extended and threatening to detach.

“It must be the national walk your unruly dog day, ” I thought as I drove. But then I found myself in Safeway, with a wayward cart that would only turn left– and I knew, the Universe was trying to tell me something.

It’s funny, it would be easier to put the cart back and get one that will actually go where I need it to go. It’s as if I take this test of wills with an inanimate object personally. I will over-come. I will succeed in bending it to my plan. I WILL make it turn right even if I wrench a muscle or two to do it.

No, easy is never an option. Instead I fight the cart that only wants to turn left– completely through the store. Twice. Because I couldn’t find something and the store has a whole new layout. Let’s call that a work-out.

One of the upsides to attending a church where the majority of the congregants are well past 70 is that there is a lot of life experience in the room. It’s not to say young people don’t have wisdom to offer, but even if you’re young and wise — you still haven’t lived as long as they have. Not even at 40.  At the Bazaar on Saturday, a bundle of this experience (all 80 years of her) sat down at our table and began to talk. I’m not sure how we fell on the subject but at one point, she said to us, “My life is too short for negative thoughts. I don’t have time for them. In fact, if I don’t like a person, well, they just cease to exist for me. I don’t give them a second thought.”

She’s 80. She’s entitled. And while most of us mean that metaphorically, at 80 she’s not kidding around about the time.

We chatted some more, and as I started to tell her that life has been difficult for us lately,  she stopped me to say, “But you’re young. Of course things are difficult, these are growing pains. Everything will work out.”

You see, because she doesn’t make room for negative thoughts. And she has the life experience to back that up. I shut up and really listened.

Because she is right. Wayward dogs, unruly carts, and negative thoughts are a work-out. In the case of my obsessions, exhausting. Who has time for that? Who has time to obsess over the negative noise that surrounds you daily?

I’m not advocating ignoring the injustices of the world or living with a head buried in sand. I’m talking about actively ignoring the petty comments, the gossip, the nastiness of others when it’s directed at you. Participation is optional, remember that.  I’m talking about excising the toxic people in your life and not “giving them a second thought.” I’m talking about telling that voice in your head that says you’re not good enough or things are just going to get worse… telling it to SHUT. UP.

Life really is too short. Whether you’re 18 or 45 or 80. . . life is limited. At some point, choosing to disregard the noise for the beauty that remains is a choice worth making.

So next time, maybe put the wayward cart back and choose one that won’t yank your arm out of its socket.

6 Responses to “Big Dogs, Shopping Carts, and Octogenarians”

  • IZ:

    You talkin’ to me? 😉 Boy I sure feel like it. I was there for that conversation. How easy it is to forget when the old shopping cart has a mind of its own. In this case, the world around me. I’ll try to hold onto this reminder. I guess it is just a choice, right? A way of seeing the world…

    • wende:

      The universe has a wicked sense of timing. I’ve been holding on to this thought lately, that we are protected and cared for. That all the love and care we need is already here. I’ve been looking for the evidence of that — and daily, God provides. Miracles abound. Things may be scary, but we are young. These are growing pains. Everything will be ok. I have that on good authority!

  • It’s probably just as important to remember on the days where you feel like the cart and not the shopper. 🙂

    • wende:

      Too true! That is my day, today. Spinning in my own grief, mourning outcomes that never came. And, true to course, I fought the tears — until I couldn’t. Email and more blogging on the way! 😀

  • Oh, YES! How many times have I made myself miserable about other people when I should have walked away? When Patt got sick, I had to focus on the positive, as strange as that sounds. It made me cut loose from some toxic people. P.S. I always get the obstreperous grocery cart too!

    • wende:

      I’ve often wondered if this partly a gender thing? If women are more conditioned to keep at it? Maybe I’m reaching. But it seems to me, we’re willing to accept relationships that bring NOTHING to table for us, and give and give and give to the point of heartbreak. There is strength in knowing your own worth and insisting that the people in your life value you, TOO.

      It makes complete sense that you would focus on the positive during Patt’s illness. Not weird at all.

      Oh, and I love that word, obstreperous. Gold Star for Margaret!!

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