My living situation is unique. I built a studio/ loft in a 1500 sq foot warehouse in Barrio Logan, east downtown San Diego. Because the place is zoned industrial, the building isn’t exactly made to be insect-proof. And therefore, ants have become my newest neighbors.

I’ve decided to take this opportunity, as I battle with these critters, to consider what living with ants has taught me. So I present:

Five Life Lessons on Living with Ants

1.  Know Where You’re Exposed

Ants may be tiny, but with what they lack in size they sure make up for in creativity. They can sniff out those dropped chocolate chips that you decided would be better left kicked back behind the cabinets and under the ‘fridge. Ants can also find the cracks between your doors and the holes in your walls. So in essence, they force you to consider those spots in your life that you thought no one knew about. Or maybe you didn’t even know about…

2.  Take Out the Trash

Garbage in, garbage out. Ants will remind you to live a cleaner life. They will also remind you that just by living a normal life, you’ll still make trash. It’s no big deal, but just take it out every once in a while. Don’t let the garbage in your life accumulate (read also: negative friends or coworkers, a bad job, that old truck that breaks down all the time, ie trash).

3.  Keep Your Food Fresh

There is something absolutely wonderful about eating less processed junk and focusing on the good stuff. And with buying your food fresh, you consume it sooner so it doesn’t go bad. So you are more conscious of what you’re putting in your body. Keeping your food on a steady rotation ensures you know what you’ve got, and it helps when you keep that food fresh. Also, I won’t let any ants near my delicious organic fruit.

4.  Know What You Own

This morning my girlfriend discovered a bowl of sugar sitting on the microwave. That’s right. As in a cereal bowl full of sugar. Sure it was covered in aluminum foil, but you don’t think that stopped the ants from sneaking in, do you? I should have snapped of photo of the hundreds of ants getting that snack attack. And yet ants have shown me that I need to really take an inventory of what I own. Even consumables can pile up. Knowing what you have and wanting what you’ve got are two important principles to stand by. I still don’t know why there was a cereal bowl full of sugar on the microwave.

5.  You’re Not the Most Important Thing in this World

These tiny little critters are enough to make anyone shudder when they show up in large enough numbers. But watching their tenacity and apparent fearlessness has made me appreciate that I’m not the only one with important plans today. So the next time you’re stuck in traffic and some jerk cuts you off, remember that he is an ant with his own big goals and agenda too. Damn, if anything it makes me realize that even ants are better at working together for a common good than humans can be.  After all, if there really is an eye in the sky, aren’t we all just a bunch of ants too?

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