Take a cue from your cats

“Do things that make you happy within the confines of the legal system.” —Ellen DeGeneres

There is a reason we’re always almost out of toilet paper at my house. It’s a condition and there’s a name for it. I’m an ‘under-buyer.’ (Just ask my kids.)

The classification makes me feel better somehow. This means I can put a name to why I put off buying necessary things until just slightly before I need them. Or maybe shortly after.

Even though the label helps, it frustrates me. I don’t like going shopping because I have to. But I also get annoyed by almost being out of something. It’s a real dilemma that I now realize sounds pathetic on paper.

My first self-diagnosis tool is a book called, “The Happiness Project.” It’s basically one woman’s year-long journey to be happier. My take-away: things like chronic under-buying don’t create more happy.

During my intentional quest to find “more happy,” I have also looked to self-diagnosis tool No. 2: cats. They carry around few, if any, worries. There are days when I’d give up quite a bit to be curled up and clueless on the back of the couch.

Mine ask for little. One tolerates me, maybe even likes me a little, but doesn’t care what I think. I can respect that. The other seems to appreciate my time. They both want food, clean litter and a soft spot, but neither are interested or aware of a bigger picture.

People are different. We struggle to live genuinely, purposefully and with meaning. I’m guessing women analyze (obsess over?) all of this more than men. Cats, from my perspective, not so much.

A timesonline.com report stated that women’s lives have become more complicated in more areas, leaving them (us) less happy than we should be. We’re apparently engineered to multitask somewhat effectively, but how many balls can gracefully be juggled at one time? The trouble escalates when it becomes more about the number of balls flying than what the balls represent.

So, I rely on a third diagnosis tool in the form of yoga. If you want to find out how fast you move on a regular basis, get on the mat. There are no strict guidelines, it’s quiet, individual and honestly, a little cat-like. That can’t be bad. And it works.

I have yet to master the art of portion control when it comes to balancing what I want to do, what I should do and what I think I need to do. But at least I can learn physical balance and how to slow down. Maybe it will trickle over into other areas. I intend to find out.

Other than that, what I need to do is buy cat food, give up juggling and stock up on toilet paper.

But will I?

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ven­tures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree­

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