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Happiness at This Moment

Leslie Tander

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It’s the morning of my fiftieth birthday. As I sip my morning coffee I’m reflecting on my life, asking myself if I’m happy. I mean really, truly happy.

A series of recent unfortunate events have forced me to contemplate past and future decisions. I find myself thinking about the myriad of bad decisions I’ve made over the past several decades. I ruminate about educational decisions, marriage decisions, employment choices, financial decisions and more. I wonder where I went wrong. I keep dialing back the clock to determine what, precisely, was the part I would change if I could.

Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten that divorce. If I’d only picked a better spouse I wouldn’t have needed the divorce. If I’d had a better job I could’ve supported myself and I wouldn’t have had needed a spouse. If I’d gone to a better school, if I’d studied harder. It had to be my average grades that screwed up my life. I was too focused on having fun. Those fun memories are worth nothing now. Or are they? Making those memories made me happy. At the time.

I wonder when things will ever be good for me. Things have never been good for me. Or have they? Have I never been happy? Have I always just been waiting for a happier time? Did I never appreciate the “now”? As I look back I know I’ve been happy, so why do I not feel happy? Would I take back all that happiness that I’d had in the past in order to have complete happiness now? And what is complete happiness anyway?

I question what happiness actually is. How do we define our happiness? Why do we need it? Crave it? 

I dwell on my past. How did this become my life? How do I have this many problems? I fear my future. What will become of me? How will I fix my problems? Where will I live? How will I make enough money? What if I become physically unable to work anymore?

What if I didn’t have any problems, though? What if I’d never had any problems? Where would the lessons be in a life without problems? Aren’t the problems and challenges in life what make us stronger, smarter people? If things were always easy, we’d never learn to really live.

What about right now? What do I feel at this precise moment? 

I feel annoyed with myself. I can’t change the past and I don’t know what will happen in the future.

At the moment I have my breath. My lungs empty and fill as I breathe in and out. I close my eyes and experience my breathing. I picture my heart in my chest, blood pumping through my arteries and flowing throughout my entire body. I wiggle my fingers and toes, just feeling them. I think of how miraculous it is that the human body can function so efficiently.

Regardless of my past or future, my body continues to function in the present. At this moment, as I sit and breathe, I’m fully present. I’m appreciative of this moment. That’s happiness, at this moment.

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Life

An In-depth Look At The Exciting And Inquisitive Bengal Cats

Lea Lomas

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Many people enjoy cats because they have a reputation for being independent and low maintenance compared to other types of animals. However, one possible exception to the rule is Bengal cats. Not only are Bengal cats known for their unique complexion, they also have an infectious personality that is basically unmatched in the domestic cat world. Bengal cats are considered a combination of Asian leopard cats and traditional house cats.

Origins

Bengals cats are hybrid breeds. Doctors at Loyola University created the hybrids because they wanted a cat with an exotic look but the energetic personality of a domestic cat. The doctors mixed African leopard cats with Egyptian cats. According to the International Cat Association, most Bengal cats are now bred from their own species. This wasn’t the case initially, as the first generation of male Bengal cats were unable to reproduce. Bengals are now recognized as an official breed by several organizations around the World, including the Canadian Cat Association and The Cat Fancier’s Association.

Appearance

Bengal cats are known for their striking appearance. They have spotted or marbled markings. Most of the patterns are black or silver. Bengal cats have multiple coat colors, including seal sepia, seal lynx, brown tabby, and black silver tabby. Most Bengal cats have white background fur on their chin, chest, legs, and abdomen.

Maintenance

Bengal cats are now seen as large house cats. If you would like to add one to your home, make sure that you groom your cat every week. That will remove excess hair and dead hair. Keep your cat’s nails trimmed and always ensure that your Bengal cat is using a clean litter box.

Initially, Bengal cats were seen as too wild potentially out of control to be good pets. However, the cats have learned to channel their energy. So it is important that they get plenty of exercise and physical stimulation throughout the day. Make sure that you have a scratching post nearby and a tree for them to climb.

Bengal cats are very intelligent and inquisitive, so try to find an area around your home for them to explore. Bengal cats love interactive and engaging toys. In general, it’s just important to spend as much quality time as possible. Bengal cats are very fond of water, so look out for them trying to jump in the bathtub with you. While Bengals primarily get along with most animals, you should try to keep them in confined spaces. Bengal cats have been known to prey on hamsters and gerbils.

Managing Their Health

Most Bengal cats have a life expectancy of 10-16 years. Make sure that your cat stays up to date on all of its treatments and immunizations to avoid catching diseases such as leukemia. In some cases, Bengal cats may suffer from blindness. They are especially at risk during their younger years. Try avoiding all foods that contain grains when preparing your Bengal cats’ diet.

If you would like to adopt a Bengal cat, you can try avenues such as Petfinder. You should have a lot of fun learning and growing with your Bengal cat.

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Life

This is Just How Beautiful African Emerald Cuckoos Are

Sherry Rucherman

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Just a step above the brown birds is the beautiful green birds. I mean this in terms of my level of interest in birds. Green is a beautiful color but it is meant for birds to blend in easily and hide. This takes away from the beauty of the green bird. With that being said, please do not take this out of context because green is still one of my favorite colors.

Sometimes, however, I still come across a green bird that always proves me wrong. They are nothing near boring to sit there and observe. Every so often I may stumble across one. When I do, it is hard for me to take my eyes off of it.

One of them happens to be the African emerald cuckoo. I can bet you have probably never heard or seen this one before.

They have beautiful bright bellies that are yellow along with emerald bodies. Between these two characteristics, it makes it hard for these birds to come across as boring. They have mastered the skill of hiding from their predators even though they are extremely bright. Photographers even have a hard time trying to find them to capture any great pictures of them.

African emerald cuckoos are mostly found in Western and Sub-Saharan African. Their preferred habitat is moist forests of course.

They may go and visit urban areas sometimes. However, they can still be pretty difficult to find.

But there still seems to be some good news! If you really want to find one of these birds, the best thing to do is listen out for a very interesting four-note song that stands out from other birds. Follow their song to find out where they are hiding. This is usually the only way to be able to spot them.

One thing about cuckoos is that they do not raise their babies if you know anything about them. This may be hard to believe, yet it is very true.

They do not even make their own nests as other birds do.

They pretty much take the nests that are built by puff back shrikes, bee-eaters, olive bush shrikes, and others. In other words, they steal those nests and get rid of the eggs that are in them.  If this isn’t hard to believe, I don’t know what is.

Once a cuckoo has found a good nest, the female will lay her own eggs and leave them for another mama bird to raise. Yes, you heard me correctly. Another bird from an entirely different species will get stuck to raise a cuckoo’s babies! How rude can this be?

But it doesn’t end there! After hatching, cuckoo babies push other babies from other species away. This just goes to show you how rude these birds really are. Regardless, these birds still are a beautiful sight to see!

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Life

Meet the Human-Faced Potato Poodle That’s Taking Over the Internet

Leslie Tander

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It can be hard to say what makes us humans, human. How are people separate from dogs, cats, monkeys, and more? For some people, you simply know a human when you see one. The many unique traits we offer can be difficult to describe but a lot of people think this cute pooch offers some of the same unique traits reminiscent of humans.

And you know what? They’re right. It’s hard to say way exactly makes this poodle so vaguely human, and yet a quick look in her eyes can be a bit unsettling at first. It feels a bit like you’re looking at a person in a Halloween costume. Of course, once your eyes are drawn away from her eyes, you quickly realize that you’re looking at a cute and fluffy poodle.

The pooch’s name, by the way, is Kokoro. This name may be unfamiliar to some, but it suits the pup quite well. In Japanese, Kokoro roughly means heart and feelings. And Kokoro certainly has a lot of heart and is melting a lot of hearts too.

While she may not know it, Kokoro has become an internet sensation and now has countless fans around the world. Many would love to give this poodle a well-deserved pet on the head. And given Kokoro’s round, bushy afro-like haircut, the pets are sure to feel good for both parties.

So far, Kokoro’s charming photos have garnered over one hundred and thirty thousand likes and thirty thousand shares on Twitter. One top of that, nearly a thousand people have commented. Some people argue that the pupper has an eerie similarity to famed painter and teacher Bob Ross. A few believe that she looks like an ewok. Others simply note that they want to give her a pat on the head or belly rub.

Kokoro is also extremely popular on the photo sharing site Instagram. She has over one hundred and sixty thousand followers. Follow her on Instagram and you can check out more than 3,500 photos. Many of them, of course, featured Kokoro herself.

By all accounts, she’s a smart, gentle, and kind dog. She seems to like exploring outside and overall appears to like chilling out with her buds the most. It also looks like Kokoro spends quite a bit of time traveling and on the road. So who knows, maybe you’ll get to meet her when you’re out on an adventure of your own.

It’s obvious that Kokoro’s human companions take a lot of time and put a lot of effort into her care. Besides her great hairdo, the rest of her coat is obviously well cared for. Poodle hair can be difficult to keep clean, especially if your poodle likes to dig around in the yard or snuggle under furniture. Yet Kokoro looks like she just stepped out of the hair salon.

Got your own pictures of an amazing puppy, cat, or other animal? Consider sharing them with the world. Many people have been cooped up, working from home, and avoiding public gatherings in recent months. Now is the perfect time to share a little light and warmth, and a few photos of amazing animals can go a long way.

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