I’m a PetCo Chinchilla and other 2017 updates

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was visit PetCo. I loved walking through the reptiles section and trying to find the elusive lizards in each of their cages. I remember petting other people’s dogs and making passive aggressive comments to my mom somewhere along the lines of: “that girl is my age, how come she gets to have a dog???”

And for some odd reason, I also remember reading the pet care instructions for each of the animals, and getting startled by how much work it was to take care of a chinchilla. The Chinchilla pet care plaque was HUGE compared to the other animals. The requirements for exercise, stimulation, environment, supplies, interaction and more just went on and on. I don’t know why this was the first thing to pop into my mind, but as I was explaining to my friend why I was upset about having too much free time this week when last quarter I was complaining about having no free time, I said to her “it’s like with the chinchillas at PetCo who need dust baths and large sunny cages and 4 different types of vitamins…”

I’m a PetCo Chinchilla. I need a pretty delicately balanced environment and schedule for my life/work in order to feel content, and I’m starting to realize how delicate of a balance that actually is. I’ve been pretty miserable the past two days, and while it’s all been exacerbated by a few other factors (I’m jetlagged, I’m crazy sick, it hasn’t stopped raining since I got back to California), I would argue the root of the problem is that my life balance is off right now. So instead of spending more time complaining and feeling crappy, I wanted to take some time and think a bit more critically about how and where I want to spend my time, and what is going to make me happiest.

So I don’t really know what this is, part introspection, part New Years Resolutions, part “it’s 6am, no one else is awake and I’m bored”, but here it is anyway:

How to best (self)care for your new pet Juliana 

  1. Diet
    • Vegetables, PLEASE. I love my chicken tenders and Shin Ramen noodle bowls, but I always just end up feeling crappy and bloated afterwards. Have a little more self control Ju :/
    • Cheese makes me happy. So do potatoes. And ice water. I should remember this for rainy days.
    • Need to make an effort to get more protein into my diet.
  2. Habitat
    • Lots and lots of sunlight
    • Can’t be in the same room or space for more than a couple of hours, or I start getting cabin-fever. Seriously, I spent about 1pm-4pm in my room yesterday and cried because I felt like I was wasting my life away.
    • I want, and need, to not spend all of my time in the same five or so places. Off campus trips are good, exploring new study spots on campus is good, etc.
  3. Exercise
    • I didn’t realize how much I absolutely needed exercise until this week. If I don’t go running or dancing or any form of movement at least once a day, I just get jittery and restless, and then the physical stress starts translating into emotional stress and it just gets worse and worse
    • I love dance and want to be a better dancer and when I don’t dance every day, whether it’s freestyle or choreographing or dancing around my room, I get physically sad and mentally sad because I feel like I’m doing nothing to accomplish my goals
  4. Emotional fulfillment
    • For me, one side effect of living in college dorms is that my extroversion has been magnified to the extreme. I counted, and I don’t think I spend more than 3 hours alone a day. When I do, I get incredibly lonely and sad.
    • Good, centering conversations with friends, but also physically being around people.
    • Keeping up to date on the lives of my loved ones and feeling present in my relationships.
    • I need to make an effort to be really present in all of the communities I’m a part of, and I feel guilty and isolated when I don’t.
  5. Intellectual fulfillment
    • I still haven’t really figured out a balance yet between how much free and unstructured time I should give myself, and how much I need to be scheduled. I was extremely unhappy yesterday when I was free from 10:30AM to 4pm, but I also don’t like being in any one place or event for more than 2 hours at a time. I think once the quarter picks up, this problem will fix itself, but I think no more than 3 hours of free time at a time.
    • More civic engagement, more awareness about the world. I need to take time each day to educate myself on what’s happening around me, and to think critically about where I’m getting my information from.
    • I want to care a lot about my classes and what I’m learning, and so far that’s been working out wonderfully. It would be good if I found more ways to apply what I was learning to projects or my daily life as well.
    • Lots and lots of learning outside of the classroom. Reading books for fun, talking with friends who are much smarter than me, rabbit-holing on the internet, all of these count.
  6. Balance of preparing for the future and being present
    • If nothing else, I think my core personality is defined by the fact that I hate wasting time. If I’m not spending time doing something that is working towards a personal goal, planning for the future, or fulfilling some current and pressing matter, then I’m miserable.
    • I need to go to bed every day feeling fairly worn out or exhausted, or I feel like I’ve wasted the day. It’s weird, my energy comes from feeling like I’ve used up all of my energy.
    • I do think my general time has been spent a lot more on planning for the future these past few months though, so I want to make a more conscious effort to enjoy the day to day and to spend less time wishing I was somewhere else, someplace else.
    • At the same time, constantly working on creating a future for myself and others. Applying to internships, sending out poems to publishers, learning about grad school or future careers, choreographing, etc.
  7. Signs of a healthy animal
    • Energetic at most hours of the day
    • Writing and dancing a lot
    • Being what some people might consider excessively introspective
    • Starting all projects, assignments, papers, and any other sort of things with a deadline pretty much the day it is assigned
    • Not crying
  8. Red Flags
    • Not talking to anyone for more than a few hours
    • Taking naps, any naps. I mean it, I’ve never woken up from a nap and not felt sad.
    • Feeling unmotivated
    • Complaining about wanting time to pass more quickly, or wanting to be doing something else

So that’s me, or at least, who I’m trying to be this year. I’m learning more about myself and how I fit into the world, and hopefully that continues into 2017. I’m going to go back to bed after this and enjoy another few hours of sleep before I go running, but I’ll end with this

Things I am looking forward to tomorrow, next week, next year, and so forth

  1. Breakfast in a few hours
  2. Ski trip this weekend!
  3. CUPSI in the spring and getting to see some of my favorite poets live
  4. Sarah Kay in February!!
  5. LTS Dance Set
  6. Doing problem sets for my Phonology class because they seem fun and unlike anything I’ve done before
  7. Being more involved in SYZ
  8. Dancing over the summer
  9. Seeing my family again
  10. Learning how to drive
  11. Camping during Spring Break
  12. My Levinthal tutorial
  13. Another round of CO set building and practices 🙂
  14. Hanging out with people I care about
  15. Trying to go abroad next year and all the adventures I’ll have there
  16. Watching Gabe graduate and either coterm or start working
  17. Showering after a really intense workout
  18. Watching it get sunny again in a few days
  19. Potentially doing linguistic fieldwork with one of my favorite professors!! If i can figure out how to get to San Jose lol


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