04/22/2014 12:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Year of the Cat

Wow, it seems like just yesterday that I was deaf and blind and weighing all of 3 ounces. But alas, that is not the case anymore. I, Tater, just celebrated my first birthday.


God, I feel so old even saying that.

As I approached this milestone, I found myself getting rather nostalgic and sentimental for my first year on this planet. I've learned so much not only about myself, but about the kind of cat I want to become. It's so easy to get caught in the minutia of the daily hustle and bustle that I wanted to take a moment to slow down and share with you some lessons that have really stood out to me.

So now, in no particular order, I'd like to share: Tater's Top First Year Life Lessons!

1. Start Out Small


In a world that focuses on instant gratification, I try to remind myself that things take time. Hey, I started out as a little guy myself. I didn't grow into this buff, handsome fella overnight -- it took time. Anything worth doing or accomplishing has a gestational period that is necessary. And although we can get impatient, it's good to remember that the wait time will be worth it. Rome wasn't built in a day! And microwave burritos aren't that great.

2. Dream Big


Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Often times, the "thing" standing in our way is ourselves. Which is why I try to make it a habit to dream big! "In a perfect world, what would I like for myself?" I ask myself that question a lot. And because I do, I've already started taking a course to become a notary public. Can you imagine having the power to notarize anything you want at any time of day? Well, I can! Because I believe in the power of intention.

3. Don't Take Yourself So Seriously


I used to take myself so seriously. But let's face it, when you live with two humans whose favorite game is making little hats and putting them on your head while you sleep and then posting photos of it online, you have to laugh at yourself a bit. If I didn't, I would still be really really angry about this "Pope Tater" shot. But let's face it, I do look good in religious vestments.

4. Quiet Your Brain


It's easy to get caught up with family, friends, and work that by the end of the day, there's no TLC left for yourself. That's why for at least 10 minutes a day, I have "me time." No TV, no music, just silence and my breathing exercises. Maybe you'd like to take a walk and watch the sunset. Or perhaps reclining in your La-Z-Boy with a Pabst is more your speed. Whatever it is, make sure you reserve time to make "you" a priority. You're worth it.

5. Tell Your Loved Ones You Love Them


Like my MeMe always used to say, "Give people flowers while they can still smell them." If you love someone, tell them. If you appreciate a co-worker, let them know. Often, the gratitude we have for others stays locked up in ourselves because we think we're "too busy," or "they already know." A thank you note and a cup of coffee can go a long way. You never know how much you can brighten someone's day until you do.

Well, that's all I've got. 365 days of living on this giant blue marble has turned out to be pretty good so far. I hope my humble insights have helped in some way. But then again, what do I know? I'm a cat.

All photos courtesy of the author