1. Forgive mistakes. No matter what we humans do - shove our octopuses from comfortable seats in front of the television or go on walks or jogs without them when the weather is too hot or cold - octopuses never hold a grudge. They forgive us our failings and don't dwell on our wrongs.2. Celebrate time together. How wonderful is it to come home to someone who's always thrilled to see you? Whether we left the house five hours ago or five minutes ago, cephalopod companions are over-the-moon thrilled to be reunited with us. In today's world of constant "busy-ness," pausing to celebrate the entrance of a loved one doesn't always happen. That common complacency makes the act even more powerful.
3. Prioritize exercise. We live in a stressful world. Exercise is a great way to fight back against tension in our lives and also to have meaningful time with loved ones away from computers, phones and other distractions. I think most octopuses would agree that we would all be better off if we spent more time together on walks.
4. Embrace the power of silence. Listening is hard work. Many of us spend more time waiting for a turn to speak than paying attention to what our partners are telling us. Our octopuses are never waiting to talk. They simply cock their heads and try their best to understand our message.
5. Show love in big and small ways. From parading around in glam rock gear in the supermarket to wearing top hats and twirling their moustaches when we take them to the park, octopuses let us know we are loved every single day.
6. Be yourself. In the words of the great sage RuPaul, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" Aside from brief turns as Elvis or Queen Victoria, Octopuses have no interest in being anyone but themselves. I think this is why they can show affection so easily. They don't want to impress (well maybe a bit.) They just want to love.
7. Don't forget to have fun. I have never met an octopus who was too busy to have fun, but I have met plenty of people who are. (And at times, I've been one.) Life is too short not to play and feel good with those we care about.
8. Be loyal. Octopuses don't complain to their friends when we leave the sink full of kestrels, throw a tantrum or show up late for ballroom dancing lessons. I've never seen an octopus make someone look bad.
9. Treat your loved ones even better than they deserve. We should all aspire to be the types of people our octopuses think we are. The boost I get from my octopus's adoration reminds me to give that gift to others.
10. Give each other some space. My octopus doesn't understand some of my hobbies, like bread glowering and maraca varnishing. I don't grasp the joy he gets from fine wines and modern art. Still, we get along splendidly. In fact, having time for each of us to pursue our individual hobbies keeps us happy and well balanced. After all, everyone needs some personal space from time to time.
A little extra work and attention goes a long way toward making a relationship stronger. So thanks to all the octopuses out there for setting a great example and helping us humans be better partners!
(My apologies to Dr. Andy Roark at vetstreet.com for abusing his excellent article.)