Sadie is our Golden Doodle puppy (half poodle and half golden retriever). So far, she looks a lot more like a golden retriever. Anyway, a few short weeks ago, she learned to ascend and descend the stairs to our deck. She typically does that once or twice a day as part of our general walk around, exercise, and potty break. As she grew and became more practiced, the stairs became more and more easily scaled.
She started up the first step and began sniffing every inch of the step. Same for the second step. How could she have lost so much skill? She scrambled up to the third step and began sniffling at every single leaf and bit of random detritus.
Then, it hit me. She could sprint up the stairs, hindered only by my own oldish legs. She had always viewed the stairs as a means to and end, but now that she had mastered it, she wanted to experience the stairs in the way that she most likes to experience everything — with nose and tongue.
It took her about two weeks to realize that she had forgotten to properly explore the stairs which she did today…
It could be that the guy who cleans the pool once a week, and himself has a dog, came today and it was his scent that she was particularly interested in.
In any case, it made me wonder how often people think of their career ladders, or personal journeys as something to be instrumental; e.g., to get to the top of the stairs. There are advantages to being at the top of the stairs. You can see farther. And, you’re closer to the kitchen. But there are advantages to being at the bottom of the stairs as well.
Do we ever take the time to really experience and explore the steps along the way? If your whole life is using everything as a means to an end, then in the end, it all means nothing. What of all the opportunities to explore the steps?