Published on November 25th, 2020 | by Candace Simpson
Let It Float, Let It Flow: Lessons from My Sea Monkeys
I’ve made it through several stages of “we all in the house”-era fads: I baked, I read, I went to Zoom happy hours, I watched some Verzuz battles, I picked up roller skating (again), and I got a pet. Or should I say, “pets?”
For the fourth time in my life—and the second time in my adulthood—I ordered a set of sea monkeys. As a New Yorker, I don’t have the space to get the kind of dog I want (a beautiful Rottweiler!). Cats confuse me. Yet I needed something living to look at between Zooms and seminars. And I needed to talk to someone who wasn’t going to judge me for choreographing my own dance piece to the Suga Mamas’ Tour Instrumentals.
Anybody can get a fish. I wanted sea monkeys.
It took a few days from opening the package and purifying the water to seeing real living beings in there. Before we move on, I encourage you to do your own research about this pet. I am not a sea-monkey influencer, nor do I earn any money by evangelizing about their wondrous ways. I do this out of the goodness of my heart. Of course, in caring for my precious little brine shrimp, I learned some great lessons. I’d love to share those with you.
- So many things have to be just right in order for life to work…But you cannot micromanage every element.
I was fascinated when I first poured the eggs into the tank. I wasn’t sure if I’d see them immediately or if some time had to pass before they became visible. There are so many elements that have to be just right for the sea monkeys to hatch. The water has to be purified, the temperature has to be warm enough, and they need enough space to swim around. I’d give myself a twenty-minute task around the house and come back hoping to see something new.
Eventually I’d realized that I had to find balance between obsessively checking the tank and letting them do their thing on their own. Sometimes we suffocate instead of love. Every living thing needs air.
- Taking time to pay attention to mystery is grounding.
I feed my sea monkeys once a week (or when the water is clear). Every Sunday after Zoom-church, I scoop some of that green powder into their tank, and I notice new things about them each time. One of the biggest sea monkeys likes to do somersaults. Another hides every week during feeding. I’m pretty sure I have grandbabies here.
In the last few months, I have lost the rhythm of wonder. I do not as frequently have a reason to go for a walk, and so I’ve missed the sight of children being children in the street. I’ve missed the wonder of sunsets, birds, strange creepy crawly things, BIG dogs, neighbors, and lovers holding hands. It’s fascinating to think about a whole new world under the sea, right on my nightstand.
- Even if it doesn’t last forever, wonder is still worthwhile.
Sadly, two of my five buddies have transitioned to the Other Side. I believe that they’ll be swimming in that great saltwater pond in the sky. When I first noticed, I was more distraught than I imagined I would be. I began to beat myself up for not sticking to a strict feeding schedule. Maybe they were too cold. Maybe they were too confused by my night light. I kept looking for a reason to explain why they were gone.
But sometimes, things just end. Longevity is not the mark of success. We fight, we press on, we try, we recalibrate, we take a break, we come back to the drawing board… But sometimes, things just end. It doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Sometimes you get laid off. Sometimes you lose someone you love. Sometimes you get transferred to a new branch and have to leave your buddies behind. Sometimes a global health crisis demolishes your community, decimates all the plans you had for the year and triggers all your worries about the immediate future and beyond. And sometimes there’s just no explanation.
These things hurt. We should take the time to feel whatever comes up. Don’t bottle it. Don’t smooth over it and pretend like you’re bigger than the Grief Monster. Otherwise, you’re going to be standing in the ice cream aisle crying to Whitney Houston on the grocery store speakers—or so I researched. All in all, sea monkeys were a good investment. And unlike so many other risks in life, I have a two-year warranty.
Candace Simpson is an educator, minister and writer. She believes that Heaven is a Revolution that can happen right here on Earth. She invites others into that philosophy at www.fishsandwichheaven.com