My pet died. Yet she lived a happier, simplier life than most of us.

My sibling’s pet died. I didn’t realize it would, but it made me sad.

Pets can teach you a lot about living a respectable, peaceful, happy, simple life. All her life, Lizzy was quiet, never made a fuss, never complained, and ate only vegetables.
She always seemed happy with living in her tiny, plastic house and popping out to eat some lettuce and drink some water. The only times she made noise were when she got excited since she wanted more food.
One time during Christmas, she made noise because the Christmas outfit we gave her was distressing her skin, and we took it off quickly when we heard the noise.
She had a lame leg. She seemed to have trouble walking on that leg, but she did what she could to walk. She never knew any other guinea pigs and probably didn’t even know she was different or that there were others like her.
She lived a simple existence that I respect. Content, humble, not getting in anyone’s way. Even when she was covered in water during bath time, it didn’t seem like she complained or got scared.
Lizzie has taught me just by living her life that we humans, with all our intelligence and skills, still have something to learn from animals.
Rob Thomas, lead singer of Matchbox 20 wrote a song for the movie Meet the Robinsons called Little Wonders. He said the song, which I loved and used to play a lot, was inspired by when he took a walk with his dog. His mind was filled with all these problems and struggles, but when he looked at his dog and how happy and present his dog was, he realized that he had something to learn from this dog. You can enjoy the moment now no matter how simple it is.
Lizzy lived her best life, in a simple way, happy, living in peace and well-being while I struggled and focused on negative thoughts despite how smart and capable I am. We humans love to over-complicate things and live in complexity. We think we have the game mastered or we’ve come a long way, but it often only leads to more anxieties, worries, and unhappiness.
Maybe we already have all we need. Maybe we should be grateful for what we have. Maybe we can live a simple, happy life that others respect, that you respect, and that brings you happiness.
The last week of Lizzy’s life was painful. Although she lived a healthy, painless life for the most part, she got really sick and had trouble even moving. A lot was done to try and make a recovery, including Epson salt bathes and healthy vitamin-infused food.
Nonetheless, she still suffered and that sucked to have to go out in such a painful way.
In Buddhism, life is suffering. That doesn’t mean all of life is suffering, it means that if you live, at some point, you will suffer. Happiness and joy does not come from trying to avoid suffering or pursuing pleasure, but in acknowledging that there will be suffering and being at peace and happy with the suffering when it happens.
I don’t know if Lizzie actually understood the philosophy consciously but she lived it. Maybe if she could talk during her last week, she would be complaining too. Nonetheless, her silent passing tacked on to her story of a peaceful, simple living where you soldiered on as well as you could through happy times and suffering.
The one tiny moment I regret is when some family friends came over and they were playing with Lizzy. One of them pulled up her entire plastic home off, something that she hides in, to see what she would do. I should’ve chimed in and told the friend not to do that. She didn’t mean anything bad by it, but I felt like it wasn’t comfortable and may be a bit disrespectful for Lizzy since that home with her entire existence and it probably didn’t feel good to her. But the friend didn’t do it again, so that was the positive side.
Any type of death of someone close to you can’t help but to remind you that we’re all going to die. Maybe it’s still so far in the future that it doesn’t really affect you. But I think it all affects us on some level, and although some people see death as a bad thing, I see it as a way that gives life meaning.
Without death, we won’t value life. Without death, we may not get anything done because without a time limit, we would just put off most things to the next day because we have forever. Without death, the excesses of life would run amok. The richest people and the most corrupt would get richer and maintain their power forever, preventing younger generations from rising.
Some believe in an afterlife, and if that’s the case, there is no real death. There is only a “see you later.”
I was not as close to Lizzie as my siblings, but I feel sad of her passing and respect for how she lived.

I will live my life a little more simply, happily, and with less complaints. Many of my demons are of my own making in my head. I will stop letting myself get troubled for small things or even big things that I don’t have yet.

Because all we need for happiness is right in front of us. I can’t say I’m going to go vegetarian like Lizzy, but I can live a simpler life, but I will reduce complaining in my own head and externally to the world. She never dragged others down or made the world a more negative place with her complaints. She was happy and grateful for the food, air, and water she got. She didn’t need new shoes, a new car, or a better job.
I want her memory and philosophy to live on with me, through my actions. I want to stay humble, happy, and content with a simple life and simple wants, even against the pressure of American society to consume, buy more, and compare yourself to those with higher or lower status and achievements.

With all my love,
Will Chou

I help people achieve their big dreams around wealth, happiness, and relationships

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