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Life: A Balancing Act September 10, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance.

Wikipedia ~ Animal House (Fair Use)

As we glimpsed in The Grasshopper & The Ant, lasting happiness is rarely achieved by living only for the moment.

Remember that iconic movie, National Lampoon’s Animal House?   The frat brothers in Delta Tau Chi House (the worst fraternity on campus) lived only for the moment. 

As a result, they experienced frequent hangovers; their grades suffered; automobiles  entrusted to them became Deathmobiles; and girls dumped them to date pot-smoking, smooth-talking, bare-assed professors.

Eventually, they got kicked out of college . . .

As the Deltas learned, living for the moment may provide passing hedonistic pleasures, but it’s not a recipe for lasting happiness:

If, like the Grasshopper, we live only for the moment, eating bon-bons all day, while watching day time soaps on TV, our brains and other essential muscles will atrophy, leaving us fat, lazy, and stupid.

And, to quote Dean Vernon Wormer,  “fat, lazy, and stupid is no way to go through life.”

But all work and no play can be equally problematic:

If, like the Ant, we live with our nose perpetually attached to the grindstone, never taking a moment for pleasure, we’ll burn out and keel over on the golf course a week into retirement, wondering why we let ourselves live so little.

Instead of living for the moment, like Grasshopper, we are more apt to find lasting happiness by living in the moment . . . while striving for a balance between work  and pleasure that eluded our industrious Ant.

Whether at work or play, when we live in the moment, we can enjoy everything the moment has to offer ~ the sights, the smells, the sounds, the tastes, and the textures:

Instead of unconsciously inhaling an entire box of chocolate while worrying about a “tomorrow” that may never arrive, we savor each piece we choose to consume.

Since we haven’t “missed the moment,” we tend to be satisfied with less.  Less  chocolate provides greater satisfaction ~ i.e., less is more.

We soon discover that every job (even washing dishes or cleaning the garage) contains an element of fun when done in the right frame of mind:

By bringing our complete attention to the task at hand, and setting aside “yesterday’s junk,” we finish in record time and can move on to something more enjoyable.

Once again, less is more.  Less time, greater productivity . . . and more time to play at the end of the day.

Whether at work, or at play, the more we stay in the moment, the easier life’s balancing (and juggling) act becomes.


1. cindy - September 10, 2010

I don’t think that movie came to SA, never heard of it, but like the way you have brought your message across. I will now stop work and go and have a glass of something sparkly.

nrhatch - September 10, 2010

To achieve perfect life balance . . . a drink in each hand. ; )

2. souldipper - September 10, 2010

Two small words, interchanged, make all the difference. Thanks, Nancy.

nrhatch - September 10, 2010

When I first read about meditation and meditative practices, the concept confused me.

If I lived “IN the present,” how would I ever be ready for the future when it arrived?

In time, I realized the distinction between living IN the moment (remaining mindful and aware) vs. living FOR the moment (inhaling boxes of chocolates without concern for the consequences).

The English Language and its subtleties.

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