I love having pets. Even though at times I can feel tied down by them, my little piggies give me invaluable joy and company on a day-to-day basis.
I love when they start squealing upon hearing my footsteps coming up the stairs to my room (though, admittedly, they are only thinking of food).
I spend a lot of time alone, or at least intentionally not interacting with people. This is due both to my introverted nature (normal, for me) and to my tendency to isolate myself (unhealthy). But something about spending time with animals is so unlike spending time with other humans. I don’t feel awkward, insecure, or forced when I’m trying to make a connection with them. It feels easy, comforting, and natural.
And for some reason, I also have similar feelings when I interact with young children. Perhaps it’s because they haven’t quite picked up on social cues, norms, and they don’t have reservations about certain things. I can be silly around them, and there’s no judgement or eye-rolling. They don’t tell me I’m not cool. I listen to them, and they listen to me (usually). Young children are mean only in the sense that they speak honestly, are self-interested, and don’t have the same sense of what’s inappropriate as older people.
It’s taken me a while to learn these things about myself. Now I know that I feel more complete when I spend time with animals and kids.
Next step: How to incorporate this into my career and/or “adult” life…