Joie de Vivre

In France we have a saying, ‘Joie de vivre,’ which actually doesn’t exist in the English language. It means looking at your life as something that is to be taken with great pleasure and enjoy it.
Mireille Guiliano

One is born to be wild. . .


One is born to be babied. . .


The grand dog is born to adore. . .


The weather here has been the pits for a week now. Lots and lots of rain, fog, mist, grey and very warm, unseasonably hot, temperatures. Certainly far from a Christmas spirit sort of weather. As I see the map for this large country of ours, I see that much of this country is in the midsts of some sort of less than ideal weather. Snow, ice, rain, tremendous cold, muggy, tropical, windy—it all seems to be playing out at once.

In order to add a bit of a diversion, a bright spot as it were to some less than bright days, my thoughts turned to that which makes me happy, as I am certain, it, or rather they, make you happy as well. Who is that you ask? None other than our four legged friends whose sole / soul purpose in life seems to be laid back, full of joy, loving, happy, content, mischievous, playful—you name it, if it is on the positive side and happy, then it is them. And luckily for us, they oddly want to be a part of our less than joyful worlds.

Those of you who have pets most likely already know this, pets, as well as most animals in general, seem to possess that true joie de vivre—a true joy to life. They don’t seem to fret and wring their hands as we do, nor do they walk around with little black clouds over their heads. . . Well of course not Julie are you crazy, you argue. Animals don’t have the responsibilities, the demands, the worries such as we do. Well you’re right, our pets are free from much of what pulls us away from them.

They do possess, however something I wish more of us people possessed. . . and that is the unconditional love–which they, our pets, always extend to us.

They are the happy ones who greet us after a long day—other family members, not always so much. They are the ones who love us just after we throw up, are delirious with fever, have a broken or mended _________ (fill in the blank). They want to help with the new baby, the new couch, the new drapes, the new table, the new shoes, etc. They are the first ones to come offer comfort and console us just after the break up, the pink slip, the F, the ticket, the received new orders, the wreck, the death, the sorrow, the divorce, the remarriage, the first marriage, the fight, the argument, the slammed doors, the late nights, the lonely nights, the all nighters, the move, the loss. . .

They don’t care how our hair looks, our clothes look, our bank statement looks, our house / apartment looks. They don’t tell us we look too old, too tired, too sick, too ugly, too fat, too skinny. . . They don’t think the new tattoo was a stupid idea, nor the 5th piercing– they don’t question our judgement, our morals, (but maybe someone should), our intelligence, our religion, our friends. . .

They represent comfort, concern, support and hope. It is a proven fact that time spent with them helps to lower elevated blood pressure, deflate stress levels, and increase most energy levels. They are utilized in nursing homes, for shut-ins, for terminally ill patients, for very sick children, for those who have lost vision, hearing, limbs, mobility, for those who have been abused, molested, who suffer PTSD. They search for victims of earthquakes, natural disasters and man made disasters. They help search for those who are lost, for those with dementia for those with Alzheimer’s, for those who have runaway. . . the list goes on and on.

They may make mistakes, a mess, a big mess, a really big mess, a hole, a tear, a chewed up this or that, something swallowed that is never intended to be ingested—they may get wet, muddy, sticky, tangled—they may even draw blood or cause an occasional trip—they may get fleas, ticks, mange, skunked, gas, snake bit—they may fall in a hole, a well, a lake, a pond, a creek, a pit—they may get stuck up a tree, on the roof, in a car, in a box, in the gutter, in the toilet, in the closet, in the basement, in the attic—in many regards they are like small children–in many regards they are our children.

In many regards, there is much to be learned from them. And if anyone ever wants you to be happy, it is them, but it’s ok if you’re not, they’ll love you just the same.

Here is to all of our pets, the animals in our lives—those past and present and those yet to be—For me that is currently Peaches, Percy and the grand-dog, Alice.
An unconditional gift of love and acceptance.