Lessons From My Adopted Turtle
By: Peggy Willms

(4 min read)

Quaver isn’t my first “adoption” rodeo. Shoot, I am as adopted, but that story is for another day.

Over the years, I have adopted a chimpanzee, a dolphin, a star, and even a child from Malaysia. Adopting things or people you never come into contact with physically has become a thing, especially in the last thirty years. The movement has taken donations to a whole new level. Instead of writing a check for $25 a month to random organizations, you can bond with something that feels more real. (Sidebar #1: who even writes checks anymore? My 28-year-old son has never even seen a checkbook.)

Depending on what you “adopt,” many organizations give you pictures, contact information and updates on the status of your panda or constellation. I mean, who wouldn’t want to build a relationship with a chimp named Azoo or hang a photo of your personal galactical star named Diya? (Sidebar #2, Diya was named after an oil lamp brought to Mauritius by Indian ancestors in the 1820s)

Quaver is the newest member on my resume of adoptees. She is special because her adoption was a gift from a dear friend. She is even more special because she is a turtle, one of my spirit animals. I am one of those who connect with animals—wild animals. Don’t come after me because I am not a dog or cat person. I would rather talk to a crane or robin. OMG, yet another example that I am turning into my grandparents.

I started connecting with turtles in 2005 when my 17-year marriage ended. It was my first you-are-single-and-on-your-own animal. Diego was a red-eared turtle. Tickling his belly with a toothbrush and chasing him out from under my couch are a few fun memories.

According to Elena Harris (https://www.spiritanimal.info/turtle-spirit-animal/), the turtle symbolism is characterized by the association with:

  • Symbol of the world, of the Earth
  • Ability to stay grounded, even in moments of disturbances and chaos
  • Slowing down, pacing yourself
  • Determination, persistence
  • Emotional strength and understanding
  • Ancient wisdom

For me, turtles start showing up for exactly the above reasons. If I have been working long hours, taking on too many projects, or feeling discouraged, they remind me to go with the flow and that everything happens in its own time. Turtle pictures, commercials, or they walk up on my lawn. A turtle tells me that rushing things only leads to frustration. They tell me to remain steadfast and that my determination is a strength, not a weakness.

Quaver’s Christmas arrival was timely. After a tumultuous 2022, it is not surprising that my friend felt a calling to gift me her adoption. With her adoption, I can follow her travels via an app (https://myfahlo.com/), and I also received a beautiful howlite stone bracelet with a turquoise turtle gem. (Sidebar #3: Howlite is a calming stone. It teaches patience and helps to eliminate rage, pain, and stress. Howlite calms communication, facilitates awareness and encourages emotional expression.)

I have been hot on Quaver’s tail, literally, since I received her information. She is part of a project to track green turtles nesting on the beach at the southern tip of the Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. Her shell is about four feet in length. Over the last few weeks, she has traveled about 700 miles with an average speed of .27 mph. Now mind you, my girl tends to swim around and around in circles so that she could have quadrupled her distance, but hey, life isn’t a race, right?! And life’s lessons aren’t about having a straight path to a goal.

Most of the time, the loopy loos are where many lessons sit.

I end this with a memory. I have always been attracted to water, literally, since birth. I have several photos to prove it beginning back to six months old of me sitting on Old Orchard Beach, Maine. There are gobs of swimming lessons and lifeguard pics, and more of camping on the lake and water skiing. And a few of me on a beach in Carmel, California, which will never become public—laying on my stomach with my pregnant belly stuck in a hole in the sand (very “turtle-like). And we are now living on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida.

The average turtle spends over 90% of their time in the water. Aww, heaven! Turtles survive between 50 and 100 years old, like many humans. I have had multiple dreams of living to 102 and sitting on a beach in a launch chair wrapped up in a soft blanket, just staring off at the ocean. And I simply fall asleep. How awesome sauce is that! BUT turtles also lay eggs up to age 80—no, thank you.

I suspect I was a turtle in a past life or a gorgeous mermaid. Either sounds pretty divine.

For fun, please tell me what your spirit animal is: https://www.spiritanimal.info/spirit-animal-quiz/. Who knows, we may be turtle pals.

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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