What animal would you take to our retirement home?

A few years ago one of my oldest friends threw this out as a random question during an extended lunch with the girls. To her surprise I knew the answer without hesitation. “A goat.” I said. “Yep…  A goat. Or goats if there’s room…”

As she started to slide the bottle of wine away from me I began to explain my reasoning. Providing an insight these animals have given me and shaped my map of the world.

“Do you remember a few years back when I took my sabbatical and decided to travel the globe.  The journey was into its first leg, tackling Russia and Siberia on the Trans-Mongolian express. There is a whole book contained within that last sentence but this isn’t the time or the place to elaborate.

Next stop was Mongolia. A remote tent in a place called Ulaanbaatar near the Gobi desert would be home for the next few weeks. The tent was the generational home of a lovely nomadic family who kindly welcomed me in as one of their own.  I got to sample life in a wholly different way.  A privileged insight in to their daily routines and immersing myself in their cultures and customs such as drinking fermented mare’s milk – from a shared bowl – well I guess it was rude not to! Out of the many wondrous people, animals & nature the thing that has stayed with me was how fascinating I found the mountain goats.

I was so intrigued by these fun, mischievous creatures I literally watched them for hours. I was initially struck by how adaptable they were to their environment. These were barren conditions but they had it sussed. They had a swagger about them that suggested they were alert but relaxed, resourceful but not greedy, mischievous and fun.   Huddling around the outside of our ger for warmth of an evening I often got butted through the layers of material.  I couldn’t believe I was vying for space with a goat!  They fascinated me and as I watched them more each day I found myself giggling. I noticed that as savvy and flexible as they were to their environment they were continuously mischievous. This struck a chord with me. If one goat was standing steady for too long, there would soon be another one butting him and making him fall over.  They barged and jumped into and over each other, their obvious sense of playful fun was infectious.

This air of mischief was something I recognised as a value of mine yet it had been lacking in my life for some time. As a go forward, I vowed to remember the goats, especially in situations where I felt stressed. I chose from that moment on to combat stress with a bit of mischief. It may sound silly but is so so effective.

I see it as a game of Rock, Paper. Scissors. But it’s a game I’ve learned I can’t lose. If stress is a rock. I will cover it with mischief. I WIN.  If stress is scissors, then I’ll blunt it with mischief. I WIN AGAIN. You get the idea?

There are times when I need a bit of #Goatability – it’s such a blinking good resource and I know is always there for me. I simply can’t feel stressed if I have mischief in my bones – it disarms everything.

I think generally to be accountable in your life and for the things that matter to you everyone should choose the resources that serves you best.   It may not be Mongolian goats or being mischief for you –  it may be something entirely different but if you aren’t flexing that muscle enough start working on it.”

It turned out that whilst I had been immersed in my explanation my lunching companion had been giving the goat some consideration too. “I take all your points on board Kerry and it would also mean we don’t need to mow the grass”….

I signalled the waiter for the bill.