This weekend my mom’s dog ran away. A tiny chihuahua Pomeranian mix legally named Lucky but everyone calls her Kiki. I, however, call her Derpy McDerpson, or Derps for short because she has her tongue permanently sticking out of the left side of her mouth. The first things my mom said was, well she’s gone forever, I can’t believe she’s dumb enough to run away. I’m so sad and I’ll have to get a new dog now, she’s definitely gone, we’re definitely not getting her back. You should call the humane society and let them know so they don’t try to charge you for a licensing fee next year. Geez, it’s been three hours since realizing she’s gone and these were her first thoughts.I spent a couple of hours walking the neighborhood to see if we could get lucky, (pun intended) but we didn’t.
This event really reminded me of traumatic events in general. Whenever we are faced with a loss, death, breakup, divorce, job, we become extremely sad for the moment, but we eventually return to normal. It turns out, traumatic events have far less impact on us than people expect them to have. A study was done which showed that after 3 months following the event, there is no effect on your overall happiness. Why then, are we in fear of these events? If we have faced horrible things and know that we are resilient creatures, why are we surprised when people recover from traumatic events? The truth is, our imagination is extremely limited. It is both an infinitely powerful tool and a great weakness. We can imagine goals in the future become unstoppable beings and work tirelessly towards it, or, we can also imagine the possibility of pain and shy away from actions that might result in that pain of failure or loss. We focus on the immediate future and not on the eventual future. We are always dwelling on the beginning feelings and our brains are not geared to carry many emotions at once.
Another explanation for why this remarkable talent of resilience is hidden from us might be due to evolution. If you knew that when bad things happen, you would eventually be ok, would you take any precautions not to let those things happen? If you knew that losing a job would only provide temporary pain, would you strive to keep the job? If you knew that heart break from a breakup was something you’d recover from, would you bother to work on the relationship? Maybe we are built to be strangers to ourselves so evolution can have us do exactly what it wants us to do. Today, we found the dog at the humane society. Both my mom and the dog’s spirits were high once they greeted each other. Sometimes we lose things and it is out of our control but we have full control of how we choose to react to the situation.
“There’s no place like home” – Derps