a long read
“Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives, what an opportunity!”
With all the recent DC and Marvel additions to the superhero genre, what if I told you that squirrels also have a rightful place in the fight to protect the universe? I mean just look at that superhero landing the squirrel scored! That is clearly, no doubt, a heroic pose complete with the fist wound back and ready to strike evil. It’s rumored that this is how squirrels commonly land after a big jump!
Now, at this point if you are furrowing your brow or shaking your head then your gut is telling you right. Squirrels unfortunately do not practice this sort of three-point landing, I imagine it would be hard on the knees. However, I still think squirrels possess a superhero trait of sorts and I have taken it upon myself to convince the skeptic in you as well!
One particular thing about squirrels that intrigues me, is how they know to bury food in times of plenty for the colder, winter months. Squirrels go on these “search and retrieve” missions all throughout the warmer weather, braving danger and fatigue to gather more than they need now in order to feed their future. They are also smarter than they look, being able to fool bird feeders, remembering where their food is hidden and even fake burying nuts to mislead other cleaver animals. All this work to secure a source of life in the darkness to come, a lifeline that time will only appreciate so that much more will be given back to the sower of the seed. This foresight and diligence, to me, is heroic and doubles in profoundness when we use nature as a mirror to look back into our own human experience.
From Squirrels to Humans
Starting on the surface, in human context the squirrel is simply stockpiling something due to a known upcoming shortage. Does this sound familiar? Mid 2020 amid the covid chaos, toilet paper vanished from many store shelfs. To this day I am still trying to find the correlation between the two. For many people, it took a pandemic to understand that it is important to have a reserve when it comes to food or even house supplies. For food whether it’s extra canned beans, packs of dry pasta or even some choice frozen pizzas kept in store, you are prepared for that lazy or busy day that will eventually happen. This level of organization allows for flexibility and a plan B in the worst-case scenarios.
Now stepping a little deeper, lets apply this to money. I view money as one of the necessary evils of this world, acting as an obstacle to some and a VIP pass to others. Nevertheless, it would make sense to invest time into understanding this powerful resource. Like the squirrel predicts a season of less food, we need to recognize the uncertainty that is attached to employment and the cost of living. While one can debate the need to keep extra food at home, the benefits of saving money are irrefutable truths. This principle must be built into our way of life one way or another. The squirrel, equipped with this mindset, can confidently navigate each day knowing the part of the future they have control over is secure. In the same way, a sense of financial stability and freedom will allow you to fully enjoy your personal lives.
Going deeper yet again, the lowest rung on this ladder takes us past material things and straight to the heart of it all, our souls. Investing in ourselves is a real thing, in the job world this idea has been coined as professional development. This consists of learning how to present yourself, critical thinking and building collaborative team skills. However, the type of personal investing I am alluding to is much more intimate. I mean the answer you give when some asks for your favorite hobby. I am talking about that nostalgic joy when you reconnect with a passion that has long died out, where you feel like your body was made to do whatever it is you are doing. Like the squirrel, we chase the things we love, priority is given and time gets set aside. These activities give us life and bring smiles to our faces. Filled with a sense of purpose one can carry themselves with a level chin and more energy to better cater to the people around them.
The Superhero Within
Soon however the inevitable winter occurs, after some time things begin getting dull. Perhaps interrupted by new responsibilities, moving into a new stage of life or simply a lack of resources. Regardless of the reason, life continues but with a different focus. The good news is that the seed of passion through your previous labor of love is now safely underground. These buried seeds are much more than their weight in gold, deep under the X painted on the surface they lay packed with the promise to please.
Like the squirrel, you put time into your purpose crafting it into something beautiful. This diligence counts as foresight because there will come a time when ones list of priorities will change to accommodate new more pressing additions to life. The time and energy dedicated to your passion is the squirrel equivalent to seeking and safe keeping the nuts in the soil. The potential of a passion to reignite something in you or lift you up out of a season of sadness is directly corelated with how much of your being went into it. There will be a time when life does not go as planned and in addition to the outside help we may receive, we must be able to remember, dig up and partake of our buried seeds. This soul food empowers us to be our own superheroes fighting to restore what was lost.
Once you realize the life changing power in being able to once again do what you love, day by day you will naturally take the time to embark on these “search and retrieve” missions, to gift your future self the fruit of todays hard work. Today I encourage you to start pursuing something you never thought you could do. If you have found your passion, cling to it and everyday invest a bit of yourself. Whatever your case may look like, store whatever extra passion deep underground for the seasons where motivation runs low and the dark clouds roll in.
Remember, what you are doing today impacts your future, align yourself to find joy and fulfillment now and give yourself the gift of being anchored in something strong when the storm gets rough. Let us follow the squirrels example and set ourselves up to be our own superheroes when life calls for it!
Comment below your favorite superhero version of this little guy!!