Doing the Right Thing

Kristi writes for Juggling Normal and Medium, as well as at This post first appeared here, and is reproduced in full, with permission.

We are trying the last available treatment for our doggie. She has herniated discs, and spinal surgery can’t fix all three, so an aggressive steroid treatment is our last best hope.

Overall, she’s incredibly healthy for a 13-year-old 100-lb big dog, but the spinal injury is causing her legs to splay and fail (imagine Bambi). She’s strong, and her legs work, but she wobbles and swivels and slips and falls.

And yet, she has an incredible attitude about the whole thing and is the love of our life, so we are figuring it out as we go.

We have a back-end harness (or sometimes a scarf works just as well) that allows us to lift her slightly and stabilize her on walks. Little grippy dog booties prevent her from slipping and sliding on the hardwood, and a doggie ramp allows her to get in the car.

And, while I’m inclined to help her as much as possible, to limit her activities so she can rest and heal, and to keep her inside, especially during winter, she wants to be free.

She wants to smell the smells, go in the car, bark, and guard, and be a big curious dog out and about in the neighborhood. She wants to do all the things, and while I think the right thing for her is to be careful and stay in, that isn’t really what’s best for her.

Although I’ve built my career on trusting my instincts, on this one, my instinct is wrong.

The tighter I hold her, the more I restrict her, the unhappier she is.

And, if these are her final days or weeks, who am I to hold her back?

How can I not grant her every wish?

So we go for walks, as many times a day as she prefers, even though I’m a busy mom of three who runs a business. It’s a moment in time, I think, and it will be over before we know it, so I try to be here for her. It’s hard, and she’s heavy, but I love her, and it gives me plenty of time to think.

I love thinking. I think, and I think, and I think some more, and it’s paying off. I’m in my creative wheelhouse. I have more writing prompts, post ideas, and coaching topics than I’ve ever had. Whenever one pops in my head during a walk, I drop it in Medium or Canva, my hands-down favorite creative platforms.

All of this thinking led to the conclusion that sometimes doing the opposite of what your instinct is telling you is the right thing — and here are some examples:

Sometimes doing the opposite of what your instinct is telling you is the right thing.


It’s so tempting to hold on so tightly when a light touch allows room for both of you to grow.


You can compartmentalize, outsource, and get obsessively productive, or you can prioritize what you love, let some things fall through the cracks, and enjoy the ride.


You can put success and money above all things and hope it leads to fulfillment. Or you can choose fulfillment and trust that success and money are part of the package.


You can fight it or embrace it. The result is the same. You can compare yourself to a younger version, or you can be freaking amazing at every age.


You can see education as a chore or obligation, or you can appreciate the stunning complexity of life and seek to understand it.


You can hustle and strive, or you can chill out. You get to decide the experience that you will have on your journey. Both approaches lead to the same place if you keep going.

Your Dream Job

You can seek it, or you can create it.


You can long for it, or you can claim it.


You can doubt yourself and give up, or you can doubt yourself and keep going. No one is unshakeable.


You can document every minute or be fully absorbed in every moment. You can filter everything, or you can see the natural beauty. You can prove you were here, or you can leave a legacy.


You can orchestrate it, or you can be a source of sunshine.


You can chase it, or you can attract it.


You can invest now or pay later.


You can let your guard down and draw in your people, or you can be perfect.


You can look for your purpose, or do what makes you feel fully alive.


You can worry about what everyone else is doing, regret what you didn’t do, and wish for things that you can’t have, or you can live like you mean it, so engulfed by blessings that you can’t remember what’s missing.

Having it All

You can do all the things, or it can be enough right now when you realize you already have everything. Doing the right thing, for now, means giving our doggie the freedom to explore and helping her out where we can.

Interested in more parenting and work/life balance posts? Check out these other thoughts from Team Juggling Normal:

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