For example, animals have two primary objectives in life: hunting for food and eating food.
That’s it. That’s their life. They eat food to sustain their existence.
I like it. Though perhaps not the most ambitious of goals, the simplicity makes it admirable. Not everyone can be an astronaut or invent a gadget that benefits the world.
Animals know this, which is why they keep their goals attainable. They don’t have to make New Year’s resolutions because their daily objectives are within reach.
You never see a zebra trying to quit smoking, or a hippo in jogging shorts huffing down the neighborhood street. Animals don’t manufacture drama like humans. They hunt for food. And then they eat the food. And as long as the cycle continues, they consider their ambitions fulfilled.
But then again, animals also reproduce. So I guess you could list that as their third prescribed objective. Without reproduction, animals wouldn’t have anyone to carry on the noble tradition of hunting for food and eating food. The circle of life wouldn’t be complete without enthusiastic offspring to carry on these most laudable of customs.
Humans could learn a thing or two from the animals. We no longer hunt, but we navigate the supermarket aisles after work, filling our carts with 7UP and Crown Royal. Instead of wielding a spear, now we hand over a debit card. Laden with sacks of groceries, most animals would think I was the greatest hunter in the world.
And we don’t just reproduce; we have relationships. And then there’s heartache and breakups and husbands who don’t put the seat down. It’s excruciating. Humans might not eat their young, but we’re the only species that’ll argue over the upright position of a toilet seat. (But at least I don’t mark my territory by lifting my leg on the front door, so let’s be thankful for small favors.)
Animals, however, keep it simple. They don’t overcomplicate.
Case in point: When they’re not hunting or eating, animals are lounging. Once their daily obligations are completed, they sit back and enjoy life.
Look at domesticated animals. Because they don’t have to hunt, they can skip right to the eating and lounging parts. You rarely see a dog or cat scrambling during the morning commute. While we humans are toiling away at work, our pets are sprawled on the living-room rug with their tongues hanging out, asleep. (Whenever I end up on the living-room rug, it usually has something to do with all that 7UP and Crown Royal.)
So I think humans should study the animals and learn from them. They have a lot to teach us.
And until I see a hippo in jogging shorts — or a zebra wearing a nicotine patch — I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to living well, animals have humans beat paws-down.