Ashes to Ashes: A switch in perspective

I am an ailurophile through and through. Cats give me reason to live. When I’m not working or grumbling about the cold, I can most often be found staring at pictures of kittens on my phone.

The only issue is that I’m very much allergic to cats. When I say allergic, I don’t mean I get the sniffles or a little itchy. Being allergic to cats means I can only spend about 30 minutes in the presence of one before I start to feel my airways close up and my eyes water to a point where I can barely see. It’s bad. And yet, I insist on being around them.

I think it’s rather unfair. Cats love me and I love them. When I’ve been around felines, more often than not, they will venture over to me for some pets and snuggles. They purr and will rub their bodies on my arms or legs — it’s the best, other than the worrying that I might die because of an allergic reaction.

It feels like there isn’t much else to my life recently other than my griping about being unable to adopt a feline-companion. This unfettered desire to put myself and my health in a precarious position is probably amplified by the fact that it’s the holiday season and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s movie-musical “Cats” is going to come out soon (yes, I agree with most others on the internet that he was probably high when he wrote that musical). Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “Memory,” gets me emotional every single time.

Last night, as I was listening to the song, with Hudson belting about pining for a past that no longer exists, and I sat, pining for a cat to call my own, I realized I spent just a little too much time contemplating the things that I lack in life. I whine about missing California and my family; I grumble about not being able to have a cat. I see all the negatives that occupy my life, but spend much less time being grateful for the things that I do have. For instance, I can afford my own apartment, something I’ve never been able to do before. I get to work a job that I love and am passionate about, something I didn’t dream was possible when I was in college.

As much as the holiday season is a wonderful time of joy and cheer, it was easy for me to become a Grinch this year as I reckoned with having to spend Christmas and New Years on my own. I allowed myself to be grumpy and angry, even as I went around reporting and covering a host of holiday events, watching kids meet Santa and communities come together to celebrate. I chose not to participate, distanced myself from festivities and sat at home.

It’s not a great way to live and it’s not a great perspective to navigate life with. And so, as Christmas nears and Santas continue to pop out of every street corner, I’ve decided to change my perspective. I’ve got a lot to be thankful and happy about. I might not be able to adopt a cat, but at least I can still stare at pictures of them.