A few weeks ago, I took my dog Willie to the vet, who told me Willie was developing cataracts. This degenerative eye problem leads to poor vision and eventual blindness. When I asked her what I should do — was there a surgery, a medicine? — she told me it was a too early to consider invasive treatment options.
“Don’t move the furniture.”
There was some irony in the situation. Willie and I had lived in the same apartment for three years. Apart from some throw pillows, nothing had changed. That’s remarkable stability from a college crash pad. However, unbeknownst to my veterinarian, graduation was only a month away. I would be moving more than furniture after that.
I would be moving everything.
Figuring it would be a good way to save money in the interim between finishing school and starting my career, I decided to move back to my hometown and stay with my family. All of my furniture went into storage. Only a few clothes, some shoes, my camera and my trusty MacBook came with me.
Even though I had planned everything to the smallest detail, after 22 years on this earth, I knew better than to expect smooth sailing. To make God laugh, tell him your plans, someone told me once. She was right. I hadn’t anticipated the cataracts. How could I?
Calamity usually strikes when it is least welcome.
It hasn’t even been a month since I left Waco, but Willie was not the only one struggling with the change when we arrived. Having lived away for so long, my hometown — and even my parents’ house — feel unfamiliar and strange. Willie sometimes has trouble navigating my parents’ couches and tables, and I don’t recognize the street names. My relationship with my parents, too, is different. The last time I lived under their roof, I was a child, but I returned as an independent young woman. We are all chafing in our new situation.
The other day, though, I noticed Willie was beginning to develop a new routine. She no longer has the lost look characteristic of our first few days in town. She’s figured out where all the furniture is, and that she can beg for and receive food from my generous, if less disciplined, relatives.
Her adaptability surprised me. Given the circumstances, I expected her to take the change hard. Instead, she weathered it better than anyone in the household. It gave me hope.
If an old dog can learn new tricks, so can I.