I know the best family pet

September 29, 2020 2:35 PM

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A large tortoise walking in grass. Photo courtesy of Joel M. Mathey on Unsplash.

A large tortoise walking in grass. Photo courtesy of Joel M. Mathey on Unsplash.

1.

After a recent trip to the Franklin Park Zoo — a favorite place of mine — I put some thought into which animal would be my first pick to have for myself if I ever had the ability or place to keep one. And among all the things that I would love to have, whether that would be a red panda or a pygmy deer, I chose what I think would be the perfect one. Although there is not one at the zoo, I decided that a tortoise would be the ideal candidate.

Now, not just any tortoise, but a giant one, Galápagos or otherwise, that could outlive multiple generations of humans. Would it not be so very cool to have a pet that you could care for and enjoy the company of for the entirety of your life, and then be able to pass it on to your loved ones?

The idea came from a story I heard not too long ago, about a recently deceased Galápagos tortoise who supposedly ‘met’ Charles Darwin. It stuck with me — I’m guessing because of its shock value, but at the same time the understanding that an organism that we could consider a pet could live as long as four to five times our average life expectancy.

In no way do I mean to make this into something dark — speaking of ‘the shortness of life’ and all that. So as a way to understand why I have thought about this, take a moment to imagine you having a pet tortoise who is still kicking around with your great-great-grandkids, or, rather, imagine yourself as the kid getting to meet a tortoise who knew your great-great-grandfather — seems like a pretty great pet to inherit.

2.

One thing that has been on my mind recently is how to find the balance between remaining safe during this pandemic and being able to do things with my friends. Obviously safety for both myself and my loved ones takes priority, but I’ve been trying to do both and find my happy medium.

Every week or two, we try to gather in someone’s backyard and sit around a fire talking, eating, and just trying to make something of this time. It has been really nice to see them, and overall enjoyable. Although recently we have begun playing basketball again as we did before this all started, even though it is said to be a high-risk activity.  

It's a conflicting thing to either feel like you are endangering yourself or like you are missing out on something. It's as though, because I have begun to spend so much time with them, I have this false sense of security. It’s still very much a risk. But it also happens to be something I cannot ignore.

And as restrictions ease and people start to return to normal, it really pays to remain careful. I just hope that the precautions that I take, whether that is wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, are enough.

3.

As mundane and irritating as school can sometimes be — especially online school — there were always things about it that I truly appreciated. One of these things being the structure and routine that it brought to my life. Normal schooling, and even online schooling, provides structure to everyday life in the form of a schedule and daily activities.

So for the past few months since school’s closure, and more recently the end of the online school year, it has definitely been odd to live without that type of structured life. So as much as I like consistency in my life, I have gotten my first job for this Summer Journalism Institute and with it a whole new type of schedule and a whole new set of routines, as well as responsibilities.

And admittedly, even though it has only been a few days, I have enjoyed this new “way of life.” When I was little I looked forward to having my own job and being able to earn my own money. Admittedly, I never expected it to be in this format. Nonetheless, it has been a change for the better. 

I can’t say that having more responsibilities isn’t intimidating — it makes life less easy. But I am certainly excited to see if it makes it better, and for now that seems to be the case.

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