Tisen is a one-human kind of guy. Or, at least, he has trouble showing affection for more than one person at a time.
Twiggy, on the other hand, seems to treat everyone as her new best friend. Her dad commented that she didn’t even seem to care when they went out of town,–she didn’t miss them. I laughed and said, “It’s not that she doesn’t miss you, it’s just that she always has a backup plan.”
As I watched Tisen stress over whether he was losing out on any portion of affection that he felt was his while Twiggy lied contentedly on the floor, I suddenly wondered if Tisen was living whole-heartedly while Twiggy lived with one foot out.
Let’s face it–Tisen is all-in. He’s put everything he’s got into me. I am the the center of his universe and if I’m gone, or even if I’m there but paying attention to something else, he feels anxious. While this seems extreme and dysfunctional, at the same time, when I leave and come home again, Tisen goes nuts. He experiences a euphoria of joy that his wagging tail cannot keep up with. He throws his body against the couch and runs along it, thumping his tail down the length of it. He grabs a toy and is so joyous, he cannot stand still. Eventually, having burnt off the burst of energy that comes with me returning home, he climbs into my lap and has trouble deciding if giving me kisses or flopping over for a belly rub is his first priority.
Twiggy, on the other hand, looks up when I come home and wags her tail a few times. When I sit on the sofa, she stands, stretches, and then climbs next to me and demands to be petted. She occasionally looks curiously at Tisen, as if she’s trying to make sense of his antics. I am just a friend that passes in and out of her life periodically. But, her reaction is not far from her reaction to her parents coming home from a trip.
This seems to be the core difference between having a backup plan vs being all-in. If you have a back-up plan, you don’t have to worry about what happens if the current situation changes. If you don’t, when you’re all-in, when things go your way, it’s a huge celebration. But when things don’t, it’s conversely depressing.
I remember playing Canasta with my family once when I had an incredible hand. I was ready to lay down my entire hand and win the game except for one card. I just needed a good draw on my next hand to be able to go out and win. I started sweating waiting for me next turn–if someone else went out first I was done. I had no backup plan.
And boy, when I won, I felt like I’d just won the lottery!