Belated New Year Musings

So I realize that as I write this, the first month of the new year has almost passed. With everything that happened in 2012, I feel like I am running three months behind in every aspect of 2013 so far! With the new year comes our will to do something new, something exciting, self fulfilling, or something we simply haven’t been able to do before. I’m one of those people who in the past have roundly assured myself that I will go to the gym and will get in shape… until it turns out to be about 10 degrees outside and why should I wake up, be cold, drive to the gym, be miserable and drive home. So instead, I stay toasty warm in my bed, and then grumble at myself every time I look in the mirror.

I’m bad at resolutions, I really am. Last year my resolution was to become more organized with my business. That lasted until, oh, April, when I figured out that organization generally meant more paperwork, and who has time for more paperwork? I’m pretty sure my other resolution was something along the lines of being thankful for what I have – which sounds simple enough, but in 2012 I found myself being more materialistic then ever. Not a good thing.

So instead of a resolution this year (although I have started going to the gym… again) I decided to simply resolve to not have a resolution. Instead, I’m being appreciative. Last year, especially at the end of the year when the holidays rolled around, I found myself becoming stressed out and lazy. I felt lucky to have the house still standing, some days. The one thing I really recognized was that I had started taking my animals – especially the birds, for granted.

If you are lucky enough to live with a parrot, you realize that each bird has a unique personality and quirks. Owning birds is much more then owning a dog or a cat -they are more demanding, needy, and complex then most common household pets. Once you have lived with birds for an extended period of time, you fall into a rhythm of care. After a certain period of time, you forget the ‘new bird owner’ feeling of awe and wonder (to an extent) and it becomes something everyday and ordinary. After 10 years of living with birds, each time I introduce someone new to one of my flock, I am reminded of how truly lucky I am to share my home with these awesome creatures.

I was using my camera one day, (which I did not use as much as I should have in 2012… tsk tsk tsk) and found that I still had photos stored on my memory card from early 2012. Scrolling through the saved images, there were some of my birds. It struck me then – when was the last time I had truly enjoyed the birds and used them as a practice subject for photography? Answer: too long of a time. When was the last time I sat down and thought about some unique toys to make the birds, and not just thrown a jumble of toy parts together? Answer: too long. When was the last time I cycled the birds outside in their small outdoor aviary? Answer: I haven’t even assembled the second aviary, and we’ve been in this house a year. Ooops.

I had become complacent to a fault with my birds. Mind you – their care did not suffer during this time, nothing really had changed, except small things in my routine that I failed to appreciate. For the year I was so focused on different areas in my life, I forgot to stop and enjoy the natural beauty that coexists under my roof. At the end of the year, towards the holidays and during super stress season, the birds actually became more of a chore for a short period of time. Danger, Will Robinson!

So this year, my focus is going to be on appreciating my animals. I have some truly amazing birds, I really do. From lovable Molly the cockatoo, to crazy ‘I love you and only you’ Higgins, and even the old man grumpy cockatiel Sam, I am going to remind myself how special it is to be sharing my life with 11 once-in-a-lifetime creatures. I’m going to get out with my birds more, and continue to reach out and show people how special and awe inspiring these birds really are. Each time I see someone’s eyes light up when they meet Molly and she says ‘Hello’, I’m not going to forget how special that moment truly is.

Come at me 2013: I’m ready for you!

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Emily January 23, 2013 Bird Training and Behavior, Blog, The Birds