Living Like a Golden Retriever

I recently had a conversation with my beautifully insightful soul sister, (shout out BRITANI!), about Golden Retrievers. I should mention that this was in the midst of playing with one of the world’s cutest pups in all the world (shout out, Abby!). Sorry, no more. We were wondering if Golden-owners were ever bothered by the fact that their dog was able to connect with everyone, love everyone, and essentially wag their tails with an equal amount of cheerfulness for every. single. person. they see. It’s why we love these canines, don’t get me wrong; but it’s comparable to being the “I love you” whore (for lack of a better word.) Isn’t it a bit difficult to feel exceptional when your drinking love from an endless fountain of love? Weird analogy, but think about it.

In the days following our banter, I tried to take notice of the Golden Retrievers of the world. Those vulnerable, raw, expressive, feel-good kind of people. Since a lot of my friends are involved in theatre, it wasn’t hard to find them. I’ve been around this breed all my life but never fully acknowledged the beauty of their openness. They lift each other up, overuse “I love you,” and “Thank you,” and “You’re the best.” They bring each other coffee and unplanned presents, offer hugs when hugs are needed, and are definitely not afraid to express their gratefulness for one another. It’s probably no coincidence that theatre folks are just born communicative and unrestrained, and I know that there are more Goldens out there—but it occurred to me while observing the world’s most beautiful people that the only thing potentially holding someone back from wagging their tail, was fear.

I know there are extraverts, introverts, and about 123492 psychological studies on how very diverse we all are in conveying our feelings. For some of us, it’s the easiest concept in the world:

Step 1: I like this person.
Step 2: This person shall be my friend.
Step 3: I will do nice things for said person.
Boom.

For others, it may be more of a process and entirely too complex for a blog post. We’re all different, and there’s a reason for that; but differences aside, why are we so terrified to show someone we love that we love them? It’s that climactic moment of just about any romantic comedy when one of our leading characters recognizes their foolish ways and races to the airport to FINALLY overcome the idea that sharing their genuine feelings may actually help them get what they want. I know sometimes there’s baggage, underlying issues, the dread that we may lose that person, the unwanted reputation of coming on too strong, or the fear that becoming the ultimate tail-wagger will belittle any act of kindness.

Maybe I’m naïve and just haven’t lived long enough for the world to bring out my bitter side; but I hope and pray that never changes. All of the reasons for NOT establishing the gratitude you feel towards someone or something are totally outweighed by the very fact that you are, in fact, indebted to know them—and they should know that. In my experience, the people who are unnerved by my acts of adoration are the people still in my life today, even if it makes them uncomfortable, (shout out, Rachel!). I lied, more shout-outs.

I’m not saying we should all quit our jobs and sing Kumbaya, although that sounds kind of nice, but I do think that being an emotional Golden Retriever isn’t sounding all that bad. Send a cheesy text, write your friends a poem, leave your roommate a happy post-it, send a just-because package, tell everyone “they’re the best” if you want to—WAG THAT TAIL. Because it’s better to be the one who smiled than the one who didn’t smile back.

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