9 Life lessons from my house bunnies
Two years ago this month, I bought my two house bunnies, Harry and Gilby. Aside from providing eons of entertainment and cuteness, I think between them, they’ve modelled quite a few lessons about how to live a good - and very furry- life, which I’m going to share below like a proud mother:
1. Everyone should binky with excitement.
** If you’ve never seen a rabbit binky, you have to check it out here. (It will make your day, or at least make you smile). **
As humans, generally speaking, we don’t randomly binky, or burst with excitement. Whether this is because we’re reserved, or we’re worried about being judged, I don’t know. But what I do know is that life would be a hell of a lot more fulfilling if we did show our excitement, and let loose once in a while! So next time you feel excited, or feel the random need to dance around, just go for it.
2. A good nap does a lot of good
Whether it’s mid morning, after lunch or late evening, Harry and Gilby LOVE a nap. Harold tends to lie like he’s impersonating roadkill, and Gilbert likes to flop on his side in the most dramatic manner possible.
The lesson here? Monitor your energy, and be OK with the times where there’s nothing you’d rather do than get back in bed with the duvet over your head and take a quick snooze. Nothing wrong with it, in fact, it’s quite cute. And we all like to be cute sometimes, don’t lie.
3. Boundaries are a good thing
Chances are, you probably don’t need to corner off parts of your house to stop yourself from eating cables, laptop charger wires, bank statements, the book you’re reading… you get the picture. (If you do, I can totally help you with this). But what you do need is to have healthy boundaries around your health, your relationships, your work and your time, to be able to take care of you and make sure you treat yourself, and others treat you in a way you like. So go corner off the parts of your life that you want to protect and put up good barriers to keep them clear.
4. Stomp like your life depends on it
When a rabbit in the wild is in danger, they stomp to alert other rabbits of the danger. When you have a house rabbit (that has no concept of real danger), they stomp when you don’t feed them on time, when they don’t like their hay, when they want attention, and when they want you to come downstairs in the middle of the night and think someone’s breaking in. When you have two house rabbits, they do all of the above, and set each other off and copy each other - no one tells you this when you decide to take the little bundles of fluff home. Short lesson here: put your foot down to things you don’t like, stand up for yourself, and expect to be treated in a way that is respectful. If not, stomp it like you mean it.
5. Staring into space helps
Gilby and Harry seem to find staring at the wall a leisurely activity. Apart from the times where they both stare at a particular spot in the room and stomp (and I get worried that my house is haunted), they seem quite content just to daze off. Some of my best ideas have come to me when I’m absent mindedly day dreaming or carrying out day to day tasks. Heck, the idea behind That Hummingbird Life came to me in the shower one day. Lesson here? Life is about showing up, and giving yourself space to daydream. You never know what thoughts are going to show up.
6. Everyone needs a cuddle sometimes
Nothing more, nothing less. But try and make it someone you know.
7. Appreciate the little things in life
A short story here. When Harry was a baby bunny, he lost half his body weight in four days, he nearly died but he didn’t, that’s all you need to know. The vet prescribed pineapple juice which we had to feed him through a syringe (to help his stomach) and I have never seen a happier or more excited living thing in the history of my life. And that was over pineapple juice! So while you’re planning big things and buying expensive things that you think are going to make you feel better about your life, don’t skip the small things. Chances are, when you look back over your life, it was the little things that will stick out the strongest and have the biggest impact on you.
8. Don't do what is expected of you
Despite everything you read about bunnies, Harold and Gilbert are totally un-fussed about carrots. I'd go as far as to say that Harold doesn't even like carrots. Not even a teeny bit. And people are always surprised when I tell them, or when they offer to look after them and assume that they just need to feed them carrots. In fact, carrots actually make them a bit ill. The moral of the story? Don't do things because you think you should or because you think it's expected of you. Do things because you want to, and because they make you feel good.
9. Things will always work out in the end
Whether they’re being binkying, napping, trying to get to cables, stomping, staring at the wall, being cuddled or drinking pineapple juice, all of the activities have one thing in common. Everything works out in the end. They wake up and trust that I’ll feed them. Which I do. They flip over and have a nap and trust that they’ll be rested. And they are. They vaguely clean themselves and trust that I’ll make a fuss over how cute they are. And I do. The lesson here? Everything will be alright, everything has a way of working out even if you can’t see it right now. And if everything’s feeling up the shitter right now, contact me and I’ll send you some pictures of the terrible twosome which I guarantee will make you go awww.