|The first time he saw the ocean, he was a boy. Here he's seeing it as a man.|
Things he used to be fine with are now met with a snarl. Sometimes when I can't sleep, I come down and sleep on the sofa. It's not a terribly comfortable sofa. It has definitely seen better days. But it gives good sleeping. So anyway, the other night I came down and found Kizzie sleeping there. It's kind of his domain at night. But I figure I outrank him, so I give him a poke and tell him to scoot. And BOY, did I get an earful!
Kizzie has never bitten or started a fight with anyone ever in his life. People who know him will tell you he's the most gentle soul there is. But in his old age, he's getting really good at trying to convince you he's turned and he will snap your arm off. I laugh as I write it, because that's just not him. But he has learned the art of intimidation. And it comes in handy when Mystic won't stop licking him or Magick tries to steal his treat or when I try to move him off the sofa at night.
Kizzie has a couple of things working in his life right now. One is that he occupies the role of top dog in the house. With that comes privileges. He gets to sit on the front porch with me, frequently off leash, and watch the sunset, while the other two stew in their jealousy inside. He gets secret treats sometimes that the others don't know about. And he also gets a larger share of the treats than the others. Granted, he's as much as twice Magick's size, but everyone knows the real truth—Kizzie has senior privilege.
The other thing is that he's getting old. He's 13 and he's a 70 lb dog. This is a good life expectancy for him...average to good. So he knows that. He's getting warts and skin tags. He has a perpetually festering carbuncle on his butt. He's getting stiff in the legs. He knows he's nearing the end. He may very well have a couple years left in him. But he knows the score.
So he really doesn't want to take any of anyone's bullshit anymore, thank you. He just wants to be comfortable. Unfettered. And dripping in senior privilege.
Don't we all.
I've written before about how inspirational his self transformation was in the wake of Passion's death. The moral of that story was that we become what we believe. And Kizzie began to believe he was BMOC...big man on campus. He developed an inner and outer swagger that, combined with his lifelong ability to charm the ladies, turned him into a confident, compassionate leader. He found his groove. And now he's found his privilege.
By privilege, I mean, he has found his voice. He is comfortable in his body, as ramshackle as its becoming. Although there are days he feels like 100, he's still eager to get out there and feel like 10 again. Or 8. He's at peace with his capabilities and limits. He is taking his aging with grace. He has earned his opinion on things. He's not afraid to take a stand. He's not shy about asking for what he wants. And the fear and anxiety he had when he first met us is all but gone. In a word, he has found his inner confidence.
If Passion was the dog that taught me how to love, Kizzie is the dog that is teaching me my rights to self confidence, transformation, inner peace and senior privilege. I've got the grumpiness part down, but still have a way to go on many of the other qualities.
I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. I'm still young, I guess. I'm 54. But many days I feel much older. I'm questioning some of the things I perpetuate in my life. I'm questioning my own self-torture over those things, too. I've been distracted by the question of what I'm going to do and who I'm going to be for the rest of my life. I feel a little lost in the world now. Maybe it's a post-menopausal version of a mid-life crisis.
And sitting next to me on the porch each night is the epitome of someone who transformed himself entirely in mid life, without even questioning it. And now he's taking his senior years with grace, sometimes feeling 100, sometimes feeling 8 again, and wanting to be alive and face it and persist on either day.
When I grow up, I want to be just like Kizzie.