Three nights a week for one hour, I walk a dog named Zoey. Zoey is a Cavachon puppy who loves saying hi to other dogs and is afraid of the loud trucks that drive by. I absolutely love walking this dog. For one hour, three nights a week, I get greeted at the door by a fluff ball who needs her belly rubbed. I spend the next hour traipsing through Manhattan with her, sometimes talking to a friend through my headphones or listening to a podcast. Sometimes, we run.
One night this week, splashing through melted snow, I felt the silence rush over me as I took stock of the situation. I thought about where I was living and what I was doing and how I was spending my time. Big decisions are never easy, and I could feel myself suffocating with the weight of what came next.
We walked in silence for a bit.
Then on the way back, something happened. Through the one functioning ear bud I caught the faint but familiar opener of the Blink-182 song, “What’s my Age Again?” As if on cue, Zoey turned back to me and before I knew it, we were sprinting through the street.
For her little frame, this dog can run.
Dodging big water droplets from the scaffolding and feeling the wind whip my cheeks into a permanent pink blush, I dove into the nostalgic song as much as one can when they can only hear through one ear. Zoey kept running, looking back at me occasionally to make sure I hadn’t fallen behind.
And I laughed.
And by the time we stopped at a busier intersection, we were both panting and – I like to think – smiling.
Something happened in that moment that knocked away any of my pre-walk anxieties.
I had no idea if what I was doing tomorrow was a good idea. I had no promise that my decision to do this or not do that or stay here or leave there was the right one. But I knew, in that moment of running uptown with Blink-182 and my sweet puppy, that I was right where I was supposed to be right now. Maybe I don’t know if I’m making the best decision long-term. But I’m making the best decision right now. And that’s a good start.
I can’t promise tomorrow. I couldn’t even promise the train ride home. But that moment was maybe as sacred as they come, the steady beat of, this is good, this is pure, this is right.