Friday, June 6, 2014

Counterintuitively Countering Hard Days

Sometimes the things that make us feel better make no sense to other people. Not only do hard days come in all shapes, sizes and intensities, but the things that make someone feel better, or help them get through a hard day, are unique and individual to the person and their situation. This makes telling someone what they should do on a hard day rather futile in most cases. 

One of the things we are lacking in our life is something to look forward to. We don’t have vacation plans, we generally can’t afford to go to exhibits, shows, or movies unless there’s a serious discount involved, and even then, doing anything with 5 people adds up fast! Much of the time we are just slogging through life trying to survive. 

Having something to look forward to can help make the day-to-day slogging a little more bearable. Having a horizon to look towards can help you keep your head up on a really hard day. 

This week we made a decision that to many people was pretty crazy. Yesterday I brought home three two and a half week old ducklings. This wasn’t an impulse purchase. I’ve been wanting ducks for a while and have been actively researching them for months. A friend had 40 ducklings and was willing to let us have a few. As I had with our chicken coop, I knew that I could put together a duck house without purchasing materials. The cost would be minimal. 

But ducks are ducks. They like to play in the water, they can get smelly quickly, they need daily care as adults, and tending much more often as ducklings. If we are already way behind on the upkeep of our house, financially just scraping by, and physically dealing with chronic illnesses, why on earth would we choose to bring something else into our lives that will need time and energy? 

It seems counterintuitive, but what I have learned from past experiences of adding animals at seemingly inopportune times, is that, for me and my family, the simple joy of having baby animals around counters a whole lot of slogging through hard days. 

Last night as we all crowded into our little bathroom to watch our newest additions splashing and preening in their first bath it was a complete escape from everything else in our lives. The delight of ducklings being ducklings was bliss for each of us and for the ducks.  

I’m sure there will be times in the future when I’m standing in the rain cleaning out duck dishes when I’ll grumble. But, over all I know that poultry make me happy. Being out in the yard hunting bugs with my chickens is as close to a vacation as I get. It’s something that would not appeal to a great number of people, but for me, exploring the world from a chicken’s point of view helps me forget about the human world that can be stressful and challenging. I have never had ducks before, but I expect that learning about the world from a ducks point of view will do the same. 

Sometimes the thing that makes us feel better makes no sense to anyone else. Knowing ourselves well enough to go ahead and get our needs met, to take that leap, to do whatever it is that feeds our soul is incredibly valuable. And remembering that supporting others in doing what will help them feel better may involve supporting them in doing something that makes no sense to us is also important. 

For more cute pictures of my ducks visit
Dobby the Duck: Your Daily Dose of Duck