How to save lives and find time to study for finals

It was my junior year, and I was convinced that if I added anything more complex than “brush teeth” to my To Do list it would explode. I had finals, papers, lab research, two jobs, a jobless boyfriend, and a stack of bills that made my ceiling look low. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that even Einstein wouldn’t be able to squeeze free time into my schedule. And then I met Loki. Though, at the time, his name was Mary.

I was interviewing a veterinarian at his clinic for a project (get in, get out – very simple stuff). But despite my better judgment, I decided to see the animals in the kennel. That’s when I saw him: a tiny white kitten who had been left in a cardboard box outside the clinic. The vet named him Mary (weird sense of humor). I saw that terrified little face, picked up my phone, and called Jobless Boyfriend. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “How would you feel if we got a cat? He really needs a home.”
JB: “Oh my God. Can we afford it?”
Me: “No.”
JB: “Um…”
Me: “Let’s do it?”
JB: “Okay!”

The next day, we adopted another cat (Spliooshka) because we figured they could keep each other company. And here’s the bizarre thing that happened:

Free time appeared out of thin air. While I could have sworn to you that I didn’t even have time to do laundry, here I was, adopting animals and kitten-proofing my apartment.

This wonderful calm came over me because the task at hand was suddenly so simple, so single-minded. I didn’t have to wonder what I should do first or second. And at the end of the day, I had two soft and fuzzy creatures tackling one another playfully and purring on either side of me. I smiled, picked up my notebooks, and studied for my finals.

The funny thing that happened when I re-prioritized was that I felt less stress (so I wasted less time worrying and trying to figure out what to do next), I concentrated better, I eliminated all unnecessary tasks, and I found the time to get everything done. At work, I even asked for a raise (keeping the cats in mind) and got it.

Am I suggesting you go adopting animals to do better on your tests? Not necessarily. If you can’t commit to caring wholeheartedly for a pet, then don’t. If you can, please do. There are millions of little furry lives that need saving. But the bigger lesson here is that we get so caught up in our To Do lists and responsibilities that we lose sight of the big picture: that life is about enjoying yourself and doing great things. Sometimes remembering something more important than finals can help put everything else into perspective.

P.S. If you’re interested in adopting an animal and would like some advice on where to go and what to do, please drop me a line!

P.P.S. Loki and Spliooshka (cool cats Logan, and Lady, and our newly adopted dog, Scarlett) say hi.

– Tania Luna

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