Saturday, January 14, 2012

The First Day of the Seventh Decade (Part 2)

I had a very good birthday yesterday. It was filled with people calling and wishing me well, and getting lots of birthday greetings from all over the world on Facebook. Facebook is amazing because it allows you to have contact with many people all over the world. My life is so very much enriched by these contacts, even though it is through a website and not in person. So things went pretty well for me yesterday.

Well, almost well. Until another animal welfare agency, from whom we get most of the rabbits that come into our shelter, started sending me emails about six female domestic rabbits that were turned into them in not the best condition - hair loss, probably from fighting and being kept in a large area, and possible ear mite infestation. One of the females gave birth to a litter of five babies last Tuesday, and yesterday I learned that two more had given birth, another litter of five and a litter of six babies. It's a safe bet that the others are most likely pregnant and will be giving birth, even though we are trying our best to prevent that from happening. We dearly love the little baby bunnies, but we definitely do not need any more coming into the world and into the shelter/rescue system, which seems to be at or beyond capacity on a constant basis.

Sixteen little lives, brought into a system that can barely care for the animals already there. What is going to happen to them? What will be their fate? How will we love and care for them and find them homes so they can have a reasonably good quality of life. They didn't ask to be born, and they deserve to live their lives in happiness and health. How is that going to happen?

I find myself getting really enraged at people who are so abysmally stupid and ignorant that they keep animals in such awful conditions and allow these multiple pregnancies. I honestly want to find them and hurt them really, really badly, because they are loathsome, despicable assholes who take the horrible messes they have created, dump them off at an already-overcrowded animal shelter, and just walk away, free of any responsibility, while others work very hard to fix things. Sometimes I think those ignorant pigs need to be held accountable, financially and legally, for such moronic irresponsibility. But then I realize if they would have to answer for their actions, they wouldn't bring the rabbits to the shelter, they would just kill them outright and be done with it without anyone finding out. I have no doubt that would happen because if there is one thing I've learned over and over again in sixty years, it's that the ignorance, cowardice and evilness of most of the people in this world are stunning, boundless and beyond measure.

Equally boundless and beyond measure are the goodness, caring and loving sacrifices of the animal welfare and rescue community, goodhearted people working in the most stressful and distressing of jobs, poorly compensated and constantly overworked, but somehow returning to the battle lines day after day. Working in animal rescue you get to see the very worst of humanity along with the very best. And everywhere there are good, sweet, noble and loving animals who are always the victims of the horrendous selfishness and perversity of humans, the so-called "superior" life forms on this planet.

So much of what is wrong with this world I blame on organized religion, which is the most disastrous plague mankind has ever inflicted on itself. Most people know of my vitriolic hatred of religion and will come to me and ask, what do I have against God? And I always tell them: nothing at all. I have no problem with God, Buddha, Mohammed, or any other "deity." Never have, never will. In my world people are free to believe in whatever they choose. It's when then start to force their particular beliefs on to other people in the world, or begin to ruin and defile the world and its inhabitants because their religion tells them they can, or when they start to pass laws codifying their delusions into laws the rest of us have to follow, well, I have a REALLY huge problem with that.

When I rule the world, and that will happen someday, things will be very, very different. Until then, as I start my seventh decade of this Theatre of the Absurd which is life, I am very grateful for the vast benefits and advantages I have, which include good health (mental health not included), the means to enjoy my life and do what I want, and very good friends whom I love and value greatly. Most importantly, even though it can be very demoralizing and painful at times, I have found my purpose in life, which is rescuing, caring for and loving rabbits.

You can tell you're getting old when you start giving advice to everyone, whether they ask for it or not. But indulge me this once when I just say, for whomever reads this, that the very best gift you can give yourself in life is to find something you are passionate about, and then pursue it. If you love what you do, it will not seem like work. People will see you in your very best light, and you will draw others to you who are likewise good, true and worthwhile. That is the best way to live your life.

The First Day of the Seventh Decade (Part 1)

My birthday was yesterday. It was number 60. That sounds bad enough until you put it in terms of me starting my seventh decade of life on earth, which is worse.

Don't know how I managed to stay alive so long, given everything that can go wrong over the course of sixty years. I could have been killed in an automobile wreck many times, and in fact I walked away from a car crash last July that totaled my SUV. I could have died in an airplane crash, because for many years I did a huge amount of traveling.

Maybe I could have been shot in a robbery, or a random murder. You hear about that all the time. For many years I hung out in some really bad areas of big cities like Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, to name a very few. Perhaps I could have been walking along on a sidewalk minding my own business when an out-of-control truck jumps the curb and creams me. Or some really huge object falls on top of me. These things happen, you know.

Or maybe I could have contracted some terminal medical condition like AIDS, cancer, or some brain or heart malady that would have ended my life. You hear about people who don't make it to their thirtieth birthday let alone their sixtieth. Or maybe I could have been one of those people whose time has just run out on them, and they drop over dead for no apparent reason, or never wake up one morning due to "natural causes."

It's true, a lot of random things could have happened to prevent me from reaching this milestone, but somehow it didn't. Maybe it's just a huge amount of luck or someone watching over me, but I managed to make it this far with most of my original equipment still intact.

I have not only survived, but I have thrived.

My life so far, and it's still a continuing, evolving story as I start a new chapter, has been a life of adventures, challenges, and learning experiences, with the occasional mistake or misstep thrown in to keep me in line or teach me something. I feel I have been extraordinarily lucky in innumerable ways, but most importantly I have the great privilege and luxury of living my life exactly the way that I want to live it.

I've always been one to buck the trend of society when it comes to assigning gender roles and what people should "do" with their lives. I have never married nor had children, and I never wanted to do either. At the age when most people were getting married and raising families, I was too busy getting my career started and traveling and having loads of fun. And I honestly don't regret that for one second. People sometimes say to me, "You don't know what you have missed by not getting married and having children." Maybe, but I prefer to think that I have been able to have an entirely different set of experiences in my life that didn't involve marriage and children, which have enriched and illuminated my life just as much but in other ways.

I never would want to be stuck in a loveless marriage with children who despise and disrespect me. I never wanted to have to deal with school activities or sporting events or college expenses. I was never particularly interested in having to remember birthdays of in-laws or wedding anniversaries or who we're spending Christmas with this year. I never wanted to have to go through a divorce, when a relationship that started off so well turned toxic and died. Call me selfish, but I knew very early on in my life what I wanted and didn't want, and I didn't let anything or anyone talk me out of my chosen path in life. And that, in many ways, is the most important thing I have ever done.