Cheeto will not be preaching, as he refuses to wear a suit and tie, but I’ll be sharing a few observations about the Orange Boy that we could all learn from.
The best example of human vs. cat is how we start our day.
How I Wake Up
The first thing I do in the morning is check the clock to see if I’m already late. I’m not. Because I wake up anywhere from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. If it’s 3, I try to go back to sleep. But then I start thinking about all the things I could get done if I got up. Eventually, my mind’s insistence on work overcomes my body’s need to rest, and I’m staggering to the kitchen to turn on the life-preserving coffee pot. I feed Cheeto whatever he wants. I take my blood pressure meds. My cholesterol meds. In short, my over-the-hill meds. I take coffee to my TV viewing corner of the sofa and turn on the news to see what’s happening in the world. This is always a depressing mistake. Eventually, Cheeto and I flee to the Story Shack, where my day begins.
The Take-Away: I wake up doing things I feel I have to do.
How Cheeto Wakes Up
He yawns. He does a reclining full-body stretch. He yawns again. He looks around to see if anything interesting is going on. It’s not. He commences personal grooming, taking his sweet time. Eventually, he stands on all fours and does a big cat-back stretch. He jumps off the bed/sofa/chair he’s not supposed to sit in, and then he does his version of a downward-facing-dog yoga pose. This prepares him to make his way to our upholstered chaise lounge in the living room, which he loves to scratch. Now he’s fully alert and ready to meow for food. If he doesn’t like what goes into his bowl, he just sits beside it, staring up at me with an expression of total disgust. I open a different flavor. When he wants milk, he sits by the refrigerator and meows till I open it. The minute he hears me unlock the back door, he bolts for it because he knows that’s the way to the Story Shack, where his velvet napping chair and his cat treats live. Cheeto’s day has begun.
The Take-Away: Cheeto wakes up doing things that make him feel good.
Take a pause (paws?), human friends, and consider this: How much time do you spend every day doing things that make you feel good—just because they make you feel good? For me, that’s been a big zero lately, but I’m trying to make some changes.
I’m not talking about being selfish in an all-about-me way. I’m just talking about telling myself it’s okay to take a few minutes throughout the day and do something just because it brings me joy. (If I could figure out a way to put a pedicure chair in our living room, I would do it. Can you imagine watching Netflix from a massage chair with your feet in a spa tub? I would never leave the house.)
Allowing yourself joy doesn’t have to be entirely selfish. It can make you happy to surprise a friend with a just-because greeting card. Or to drop in on an elderly neighbor just to say hi. Or to give yourself an extra 5 minutes at the gym to sit in that steamy sauna and relax.
Life can’t be all “have-to.” There’s room for “need to/want to.”
That’s what Cheeto would tell you . . . if he weren’t sitting on the Story Shack porch, gazing across the front yard to see if there’s anything worth chasing before he goes back to sleep.