I’ve both written and spoken about this so many times, and perhaps in many ways, I feel as though I am repeating myself. It is also one of those things that as someone who does agility training for a living, I probably shouldn’t be publically writing about this on my blog! However, I think that sometimes you’ve just got to be honest and pretending otherwise is never the right way forward.
The short story, I guess, is that I have a totally love-hate relationship with the dog sport that is both my career and also my hobby. I have days when I would quite happily never run an agility course again. I have days when the thought of going to a show fills me with dread. I have days when I am scheduled to go to a show, that I will snooze my alarm and stay home instead. But equally, I have days when I feel inspired. Days when I feel like all I want to do is train. Days when the prospect of a show at the weekend gets me through a tough week. My emotions and feelings towards this sport are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
I frequently get asked when I do attend shows, why I have not been on the circuit much. It’s mostly just assumed that the partying lifestyle takes precedence over any dog-related activities. That isn’t true, agility is possible on a hangover (HA!). But do you know what the honest truth is? I cannot hack agility in every aspect of my life. I have a lot of respect and perhaps a bit of envy for those who can go to weekend-long shows, week in and week out, train people all week, and all the while not lose the love for it. I envy those people, I do. But I am not one of those people. I struggle with and resent things that I feel take over my life, and unfortunately, at times I feel agility does and has.
Sometimes hobbies overrule our lives. Sometimes it all just gets that little too much and we need a break. I started the season off with every intention of competing every single weekend. I had high hopes for my youngster, I had hopes of trying out. But that spark left fairly early on. A long and busy summer teaching left me wanting weekends to be, for the most part, agility free. As a result, by the middle of August, I had had enough and the desire to continue competing until the middle of October had vanished. But that’s okay. I still have fun with my dogs. We still play on our equipment and keep ourselves ever so slightly in the loop and up to date with what’s going on. We just take the pressure off, and ease away from the pressures that sometimes come with competing.
The reality is that I, and many other people, will not be physically able to do as much competing as some without sacrificing other things important to us. It is so important to find that difficult to reach balance we need in life sometimes. Don’t be made to feel inferior or less serious, just because your choice is to not compete as regularly as some. At the end of the day, there is more to life and to agility than competing.
For now, I am putting agility with my own dogs on the backburner. We still train, we still keep up-to-date, but we also keep it at arm’s length, enough so that it doesn’t become everything.
As an aside, I finally got around to putting together a few highlights from some of the shows we did do!