A year ago today, I had very little. I was resuming my hobby, but ever so slowly. I was disorganized and a bit hopeless and also unrealistic in my ambitions.
Let’s start from a less familiar perspective, shall we? You may know me, but you might not.
I had myself a fish at a young age. A goldfish in a bowl. Or a genie in a bottle, whichever. It wasn’t the most fascinating creature to me. And I was also a third grader. It had an uneventful life…and died at two years of age from a temperature shock while the caretaker performed a water change. The caretaker wasn’t really me at the time. But truthfully, it was dying long before. My other fish was a betta and it lead a similar life. It was almost neglect to leave them in a bowl day in and day out…and feed scarcely. But for a long neglected organism type….nobody cries animal abuse. Nobody cares.
One day, I did care. More specifically, the day that the creatures in question perished…I felt the guilt of a child who did nothing in terms of prevention. I lacked foresight. I didn’t give it my all as a pet owner. I didn’t know I COULD give it my all. This would soon change.
Somewhere along the middle school timeline, I had myself another try with the fish. It gets fuzzy for my memory to recall precise timing, but I remember vividly taking over my sister’s fantail goldfish upkeep. I had to be in control. I wanted to learn. I can’t explain why, except that i was opportunistic and I saw…opportunity here. I was soon checking out every fish book in the community library…twice. I read what i could and marveled over photos I hoped to replicate. I wanted to breed fish. I wanted to create elaborate displays and show great pride. I found myself doodling fish setups in every class period. Middle school, mind you. I fantasized stock lists and imagined compatibility with every one. I wanted biotopes. I wanted everything to just…commence. There was a budding hobby here. And it gained momentum fast.
When i was thirteen, I had a display tank. I had my first issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist purchased from a book retailer. I treasured it and read over every detail of every article. I gleaned in each account so much enthusiasm and a world I desperately desired to be a part of. So the next steps were inevitable.
Long story short, I was operating a small fish room by high school. I had 20 or more fish tanks in my bedroom, much to my parents’ dismay. But they didn’t stop me. How could they? My hobby has always been purely beneficial. I did breed fish. I did cultivate plants. I did write articles and I joined an aquarium society at the wee age of 14. I was traveling an hour away, at my father’s expense, to attend meetings and fish auctions. I was quite simply in love with everything.
Naturally, however, there came a time when I had to downsize. I had to get rid of fish and prepare for a new adventure: College. I knew that it was a temporary gig. I was going to have my fish room back, in some form or another.
So, that’s what today is….a celebration of a year of progress. I’m a junior in college, and I do have just the cutest fish room to play with these days. I’m as passionate as ever in my hobby. And I even joined a new club. I collect fish when I can. I culture live foods. I auction things and breed more fish than I know how to handle it seems. A year ago, I had a good start. Living off campus, though, I can accommodate so much more than I could in the dismal dorm setting. And also coinciding with this date….is the acquisition of an entirely different animal. I got my kitten a year ago.
It seems very obvious to me that I am a fish geek at the core. But along the way, I embraced my love of all animals. I have so much life surrounding me and enriching every experience. I believe this is what true happiness entails. As of today, I will be frank. I have a lot of animals. But I wouldn’t change it.
I feel like I have a better grip. What a life, though. Surrounded by…..40 fish tanks….6 geckos…a few other lizards…some mice….and a lovely bengal cat named KRONOS. I attend class, work, and go home to this menagerie every day. It’s an unimaginable blessing. And that’s where I hope to start this blog. Restart, rather. Life is full of beauty if you open your eyes to the opportunity to let it in.