Life Lessons from GIFs: Animal Edition
Hey, folks. Do you like lessons about life? Do you also like images that move, but not very far long before they start again? Also, animals?
Yes? Then oh man, are you gonna love what I’ve got here for you. This article series is all about looking at looping images and gleaming lessons from them. Because if you spend all your time on the internet, shunning the outside world and all human contact, this article will be the closest you’ll ever come to learning anything of true value other than maybe some facts about Pokemon on a Pokemon Wiki that you could use to impress your “friends” on the Pokemon message board you frequent.
Today’s edition is all about animals, because, when you think about it, they’re so much like us. Man, I’m terrible. That’s just a terribly terrible sentence. I’m sorry.
On to the lessons!
Some People Live Way More Exciting Lives Than You
Let’s say you have a cat. When you walk in through your door in the evening, your brain is pierced and your desire to enter your comforting home is dampened by your cat’s pained, tormented shrieks as it begs for a long-awaited meal. It doesn’t rub on you and love you and express its appreciation; it’s just screaming “FEED ME” over and over until it can add another day to its running count of successive days it’s been able to mentally wear you down and bend you to its will.
That’s your life. It kind of sucks. It sucks even more when you realize there are people out there living lives that are similar but are a few notches up on the coolness scale. Like you, out there somewhere, maybe in your own city, is a guy who wakes up at 6 AM, drags his ass to work, takes crap from his boss, and then goes home and eats dinner while watching something with Guy Fieri in it. The difference is, he works at a successful tech startup, drives a Bentley, his boss always nags him to play more video games at work to loosen up his creativity, and Guy Fieri looks amazing on his 110-inch HDTV.
Or, as is the case with this GIF, instead of being pestered for a meal by a common house cat, this person gets to feed an eager and clearly appreciative tiger.
The only thing you can do is work hard and hope that one day you too can upgrade your cat to a tiger, or your 1992 Geo Prism to a Bentley, or your low-paying job into many millions of dollars.
Keep Your Bravado In Check
It’s good to have balls. Not the real ones; those things are sad looking the way an old folks home is – just frail and sickly, like a sneeze might rupture something vital. It’s the metaphorical balls I’m talking about. The ones that let people do incredible things, fight impossible odds, and generally make you feel like shit for not having done anything noteworthy. But as with most things in life, there comes a point where it’d probably be best if you reeled in your balls a bit before you get hurt.
Learning to when to shut off your bravado is just as important as learning how to turn it on in the first place. If you leave it perpetually locked in the on position, eventually you’ll encounter a scenario that didn’t need your metaphorical balls slapped all over it. For example, if a pissed off bull is staring you down and you’re behind a safety barrier, you don’t need to climb atop the safety barrier and provoke the bull. You just don’t. At all. No one will think less of you if the thought of provoking the bull never even crossed your mind; there’s a good chance is sure as shit never crossed theirs. So unless you’re an up-and-coming god trying to take the spotlight away from the likes of Thor and Hercules, don’t face down the bull unless getting gored in the gut is on your bucket list.
Fighting Is A Waste of Time
Love, man. Love. It’s great. But you know what can sometimes be just as good as love? Neutrality without love. The complete absence of anger and hate and fighting – even without going to the extreme of feeling love for another – is just as good when compared to the negative alternative. Fighting of any kind, while occasionally necessary (at least it feels that way a lot of the time), is empty. You gain a clear as gin understanding of this when you’re in a committed, loving relationship. Even the people you love and are closest to will piss you off with their weird neurotic fears and insecurities, but the thing you quickly learn about fighting with them is how useless it all feels compared to the sense of comfort of not fighting.
There’s a peace of mind that comes with being on the love/neutrality side of the scale. Life is just easier when you aren’t consumed with thoughts of how you’re really going to lay into a person when you get the chance. Unless you despise someone in the truest sense of the word, fighting either verbally or physically will always – at least for a nanosecond – spark this thought in your mind: “Can’t we just forget about all this and go back to being happy?” In the moment that thought arises, you are experiencing exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a moment of clarity in which you’re able to see the Matrix code of life and everything makes sense. And in that moment nothing makes more sense than not fighting any more. The fight could have been going on for a couple minutes but already you’re tired of being mad. According to science, anger makes you more creative and allows you to make better decisions. Hell, it can even add years to your life. But it also kind of ruins you. Don’t let it make you feel empty.. Be like the mice and just let it go.
Meeting New People Can Be Tough
Most of us hated that first-day-of-school feeling. That sense of confusion that comes with not knowing who anybody is, not knowing their reputations or what they’re capable of; if they have a flatulence problem or if their idea of fun involves lizards and firecrackers. That sense of having to talk to a stranger with the intent of parsing them out and maybe, hopefully, being friends with them, is scary. Surely, the worst couldn’t and probably won’t happen, but the worst is all you’ve got playing on loop in your head, like a GIF of your own insecurities that you can’t CTRL+ALT+DEL your way out of. What if you’re flat out rejected? What if the person you give a kind, warm “Hello!” to thinks you looked at them funny and tries to take a swing at you?
Taking that first step can ultimately be rewarding beyond words in so many incredible ways, but to quote Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day, “Watch out for that first step, it’s a doozy!” I could try to give you advice on how to meet new people with ease, but I can’t because when it comes to this I’m just like so many others. And by that I mean, what if I’m the puppy and I approach the kitten and the kitten tries to pry out my eyes? The only thing any of us can do is find the courage to take the first step and say hello. It might end terribly and it would be embarrassing for a short time, or it could be the best decision you’ve ever made. You’ll never know until you say Hello.
Sometimes, a Pet Is All You Need
I didn’t set out to make this edition of GIF Life Lessons animal-themed. I just collected a bunch of Gifs and later noticed that all of them, even the ones I cut, had animals in them. The first one I collected was this one…
That’s a child with down syndrome receiving a loving and supportive paw on the shoulder from a dog.
I don’t know the context of this GIF. It doesn’t look like the kid was in any pain or in need of consoling, but taken in its presented form this GIF is simply stunning. In around four seconds it encompasses everything you need to know about what it means to have a pet by your side when things get rough. There’s no judgment, no snark, not unwanted opinions – just pure acceptance from a friend that just wants to make you feel better so you can soon return the favor even if it isn’t aware it’s doing that.
As I write this I’m waiting on some test results for what could end up being a somewhat serious health issue, and financially things could be a hell of a lot better. But I have two cats and they’re both sleeping right next to me, as they do every day when I write. They’re not putting a hand on my shoulder, telling everything will be okay. In their own weird cat way, they’re telling me there’s nowhere else they’d rather be then right here, just a couple feet away from me.
Sometimes, that’s all you need.