This summer, about two weeks before I was supposed to move into my new apartment back at school, I decided to adopt a bearded dragon. I had been wanting my own little pet to have at school and these guys sounded perfect for a college student living in an apartment. They don't have to go outside (although you can totally buy harnesses for them to take them out), they don't bark, and they hardly smell at all. However, when I took on this little buddy and the commitment of being his caretaker, I hardly expected to become as enlightened about life in general as I have from just giving him a home. Here are four things Mr. Bojangles has taught me about living that I think everyone should know if they don't already:
1. Trust the process
A few weeks into the semester, I took Mr. Bojangles to the vet only to discover he had an intestinal parasite. Since we discovered the parasites, I've had to give him lots of medicine and care. From daily baths and lots of general messes caused by the parasites in his digestive track (you know where I'm going with this), it hasn't been easy. It can be frustrating and annoying at times trying to deal with it all and not see improvement some days, but I would never give up on him. I just have to trust the process and know that it will get better—just like all the bad things we encounter by just existing in this world.
2. Get hyped about the little things
Check out the raspberry juice on his mouth.
Nothing warms my heart like making lunch for Mr. Bojangles. He is pretty smart, so he knows when I'm going to make his "salad" and will wait in the little corner of his tank where I always put it down in when he suspects the time is near. Obviously, all living things need food, but it still makes me happy seeing him get excited (or as close to excitement as a lizard can get, I guess). It reminds me that sometimes the small things like a good meal, a good book, or even that cup of coffee in the morning are worth getting hyped about to really get the most out of it all.
3. Take time to relax
Fact: bearded dragons love to snuggle
Ok, a pretty general life lesson but Mr. Bojangles embodies this so I couldn't leave it out. For bearded dragons, the main portion of their day is spent basking under their heat lamps/the sun. When they bask, they start to get pretty toasty and so they will actually pop open their mouths to regulate their temperature, like how a dog pants. So, when I get home and I may have had a pretty busy and/or crappy day, seeing him there just chilling on his log under the heat lamp with his little mouth just hanging open, it reminds me that sometimes I just need to chill for a second. We don't always need to be trying to take it all on 24/7.
4. Be patient and diligent—the right things will come around eventually
So, as you probably guessed, Mr. Bojangles loves bugs. I knew this was something I was going to have to be comfortable with when adopting him and I decided my distaste of insects was not nearly as great as my desire to have this little guy. Anyways, his favorite type of bugs to eat are crickets and they're pretty fast. This means Mr. Bojangles sometimes has to chase after them around his habitat. However, they are much smaller and can hop so it can be hard to catch them sometimes. Yet, instead of waste his energy trying to get them, he has developed a sit-and-wait technique. I assume he realized the tank is only so big and that they are bound to crawl within range of his mouth eventually. Maybe we need to look at this hunting technique and apply it to ourselves. Sometimes things can be out of our reach or seem impossible to get to, but if we are patient and diligent in what we want and are trying to achieve, the opportunity will eventually present itself to us.
Despite their harsh appearance, lizards can be pretty personable creatures at times. I think there is something to learn from not only our reptilian friends here but maybe all the living things around us every day. They can teach us so much about the basic nature of life itself if we just stop and really think about it.