Column: Life is for the living

Commentary by Terry Anker

It is a beautiful day today in Indiana. The sun is shining and all is right with the world. In fact, we have been the beneficiaries of an unusually mild autumn (so far). Shirtsleeves and open windows have carried us much further into the calendar than we’ve come to expect. So why are so many of us entirely preoccupied, not with squeezing the last from our summer, but instead with preparing for the coming winter?

As Aesop so rightly identified centuries ago, some of us are grasshoppers and others are ants. Certainly, it takes both to make the garden grow. But just as certainly, the perspective of the two insects, so alike in so many ways, is entirely different when it comes to preparing for the future. In the fable, it is the grasshopper that finds the error of his ways. He comes to know that starvation awaits those unwilling to prepare for their own care. He learns that unnecessary dependence is folly. Check. But, could that smarmy little six-legged ant have likewise taken a lesson? Is there joy passing us by because we fail to see it? Is our predilection toward tomorrow keeping us from enjoying today?

Sure, on balance, we’d be foolhardy to overlook a solid plan for what might come. It even makes sense to prepare for a worse-case scenario. We spend so little to insure against catastrophic loss that our failure to do so is difficult to defend. Yet, is there room for a little late harvested happiness? Are we too old, too rushed or too worried about what’s next to grab a piece of the good times around us? Maybe the better question is, can we ever be too old, rushed or worried?  Life may be for the prepared, but it is also for the living.