Saturday, September 13, 2008

Suddenly, a full house

I adopted Rosie, my cat, almost exactly two years ago. Before that, I had been living alone for a little over a year, and since then, it has been just the two of us. For the last 3 years, home has been pretty quiet.

This summer, Ben and I began talking about moving in together, but we had some reservations. What worried us most wasn’t fears over the stability of our relationship, or the idea that we might be moving too quickly. What worried us most was our combined ownership of three cats. Ben’s two cats, Zora and Dewey, have been with him since they were kittens and are 3 and 4 years old, respectively. I adopted Rosie from the Oregon Humane Society and they guessed she was about 5 years old at the time, so she is approximately 7 years old.

We worried how we would ‘fit’ in a one-bedroom, that is, whether we would feel cramped with three pets, and whether my apartment complex would allow that many pets in one unit. We also worried whether the three of them would get along.

On top of the cat issue, we wondered if adding him to my lease meant signing a new lease, thus extending the time I (and we) are obligated to stay in this particular building (given the flood that occurred in August, I haven’t been entirely happy with the building).

The worrying and wondering plagued us, literally preventing us from making any kind of move. Underneath it all, I believe we were afraid to get bad news, to find out that living in my current apartment with both Zora and Dewey would not work out.

Until we realized we were assuming a lot, without testing our assumptions. We assumed these things would be issues we would have to deal with and were avoiding dealing with them by refusing to find out whether they were real issues at all.

In realizing this, we went down to the leasing office, asked what it would require to add him to my lease and found out: 1) 3 cats? No problem! and 2) the current lease stays as is, with his name added to it. We walked out almost dumbfounded, amazed at how much worrying we had put into something that was resolved that quickly and easily. All it took was to ask!

When we brought Zora and Dewey over to my (now our) place, they couldn’t have had a more smooth ‘first meeting.’ Now, of course, Rosie is making a move for dominant cat by making sure to pounce on the other cats just often enough to keep them on their toes… And Zora has taken to scaring us to death by hanging out of the windows up here on the 9th floor (in Portland, screens are optional, especially on the 9th floor). And Dewey, well, Dewey hides in the book shelf a lot in an attempt to become invisible to Zora and Rosie.

But on the whole, it couldn’t be any better. In a matter of two days, my home went from a household of two to a household of five, with plenty of love to go around!

On this particular day, I found Dewey and Zora sleeping on the bed, and Rosie was snuggled up under my desk as I worked.

And, it just goes to show that we sometimes tend to assume barriers exist, without investigating whether they are in fact actual barriers. I wonder how often we let these “assumed barriers” prevent us from trying out new things, working towards goals, or making changes in our lives for the better.

What kinds of things have you always wanted to do, or learn, or achieve that you aren’t because of your “assumed barriers?” Try testing them to see if they are in fact real, or if there are ways to eliminate them. Sometimes the largest barrier is simply the little voice in our head saying we aren’t qualified or talented enough.

How often have you thought things like, “If only I could travel more,” or, “I’ve always wanted to learn (insert activity here).” What are you assuming about what barriers lie in your way to traveling more? Too expensive? Not enough time? Go ahead, assess your budget and your schedule; understand what the potential barrier looks like in order to determine how to address it.

With a few moments of investigative work, you may find that what you wish to accomplish is well within your reach.

No comments: