We humans are funny creatures.  We struggle and struggle to balance life, to find meaning and to spend time with our loved ones.   After two years with my big white German Shepherd mix mut from the pound, Annabelle, I think I finally have learned something showing you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.  Here are the top 5 lessons I have learned from my dog.

5.  Nap frequently.  Life is always better when your rested.

4.  Always nap next to a loved one if possible.  If not, find the best chair in the house.

3.  Spend 15-20 minutes a day soaking up the sun’s rays.   You won’t get skin cancer or premature wrinkles from 15-20 minutes and remember, despite all the bad press the sun gets these days, it is the life giving force of our planet and vital to every living creature.

2.  Never turn down a treat when one is offered. One piece of cake won’t make you fat.

1.  Always greet your loved ones with unabashed enthusiasm and joy at seeing them again. 

And one bonus…

Take frequent walks and smell the flowers.  Exercise clears the head and keeps you healthy and happy.

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The dust bunnies in my home are beginning to organize a coup to take over the running of the household.  Don’t get me wrong, my home is not dirty by any stretch of the imagination.  We keep things picked up and tidy, everything has a place and everything is in its place.  Dishes are always loaded immediately into the dishwasher after use and kitchen and bathroom cabinets are kept clean enough that we won’t catch a disease.

But we don’t spend a great deal of time cleaning things like baseboards or scrubbing the grout between the tiles on the floor.  We really don’t do much sweeping more than once a week, vacuuming a few times a week to keep the pet hair from creating a new pet, things like that.  When I polled some friends I was shocked to see some people sweep 2-3 times a day and spend hours scrubbing the grout in their bathrooms.  Why? I mean really, why?

Other than keeping things tidy as you go along and sanitary enough not to get ill, is it really important to have a house that clean?  It seems to me that there are far more valuable ways to spend your time. 

My husband has a tendency to become obsessive compulsive so I know what it is like to live with someone who cannot or will not stop cleaning.  However, even he will tell you it was the biggest waste of his time because he was so worried about keeping the house clean he couldn’t DO anything, play with our son, shirk off his duties and enjoy a day out in the sunshine.  Getting a new, far more challenging job helped him get his issue under control and ironically enough, even though he works harder and far longer hours than he used to, we see him more and interact with him more because he isn’t always cleaning.

So come with me, step away from the broom, lay down the dish rag and go outside to throw a ball with your kids, ride bikes together, take a walk….do anything!