Imagine what it would be like if…..

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The care and Feeding of the Bearded Dragon

Not exactly what I thought I’d be typing into Word but life with kids is full of surprises.  My daughter has been working her way through the animal kingdom for years now, the obligatory fish, then the dwarf hamster because small is cute you know and then the guinea pigs, who produce their own mass in poo every week I discovered.  She has been campaigning for a second dog ( again small is cute, so our 80 pound Portuguese Water Dog isn’t cutting it with her) and has given up and come full circle back to fish.  A fighting fish called a beta.  My son, overflowing with lack of a sense of responsibility, has been begging for something more than fish for a few years now.  I always say no.   I say no because I remember feeding and cleaning the fish.  What can be easier than a fish?  My point exactly.  If you can’t engage with that then this discussion is closed.  As birthday number ten approaches the begging and pleading has reached Supreme Court case heights.  The object?  A lizard.  After an hour well spent with an unusually helpful sales associate at a local pet purveyor we learned that the “cuddliest” of all lizards, and the most fun and least likely to lose a tail or hide under a rock for the rest of its life, or bite your hand off when full grown, was the Bearded Dragon.

True.  Usually I don’t spend my column telling you about my home life and its quirky bits, but I have an unusual life changing tool available in this tale.

I decided that before I would commit money (mostly his he has saved) and my time (they live for 10 years) he needed to demonstrate to me that he was ready to take care of a pet like this.  We researched online, and I made up a sheet about the basic daily duties he would need to execute to be a lizard owner with a live lizard to his credit.  Then I prepared an old aquarium for him with a food bowl, a water bowl, and a small plastic horse to fill in for the lizard for now.  I filled a mister with water (you have to mist their cages twice a day) and a jar of marbles for pretend food.  For the next two weeks he will ‘feed, water, mist and care for his lizard’.  If he is successful for two weeks with the pretend lizard and if he still wants one, then we will go ahead.

There are different things in our lives that we are contemplating pulling the trigger on.  Little things like driving home via a different route to quitting our jobs or leaving our partners or taking a holiday that challenges us.  My “Lizard” technique is and excellent resource for you to basically try out a life change, while never committing to anything.  Thinking about quitting your job?  Take a day and for the whole day pretend you have quit your job.  Maybe make it a Saturday and pretend it is a Monday, what do you do?  Where are you going?  What is it like to see everyone else go to work?  Can you afford to have lunch out now that you aren’t working?  Job hunt online and imagines you can really send your resume out.  Make a list of your skills and apply them in weird and wonderful ways to unexpected jobs.  How does it feel to “be out of work”?  Imagine you are moving.  Go to the neighborhood you like, have coffee there and pretend these are you neighbors.  Check out the local rec center and tell them you are new to the area, and ask for a brochure.  Whatever you like.  Whatever simulates the experience and allows you to safely dip your toe into the unexplored change you are considering.  It can all be in your head even.  Use online resources, or libraries or distant friends or strangers to try it out on.  Live it for a day and see what comes up.

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