Is everybody around you constantly busy, including yourself? Especially yourself? It’s become like the most commonly used phrase nowadays. We started to look maddening, as if injected with cocaine/ecstasy. This trend rocketed sky-high before we even realized what’s happening and now everyone is busy. Even those who don’t have jobs or kids.
To be honest, I wasn’t fully aware of this worryingly growing trend until hearing it from people I least expected, leaving me wondering. Busy doesn’t mean going to a 9 to 5 job and meeting friends after work, but people use it as a default phrase. And are they boasting or complaining really?
Why is this? How did it start?
These questions were on my mind for a while and then I stumbled upon this beautiful essay by Tim Kreider for the New York Times, who tackled the issue wonderfully: “The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it”.
And as is usual the case with truth, the answer is rather simple: the busyness fills our emptiness, attempting to make us feel important. The reasoning behind this is that you matter because who else can reply to the hundreds of emails every day, who else can do “your” job, who else will hold the family together? This sounds like a modern way of dealing with ancient anxieties. We’ve all heard/seen examples of someone burying himself/herself with work to keep the mind occupied, preventing it to deal with the real problems, whatever they may be: divorce, break-up, children, health etc. And this can sometimes be a healthy way indeed. Sometimes.
But what about inner peace? Where is it in this whole story? Is it possible to feel inner peace while doing five things at once at all hours, checking off page-long to-do lists, doing a dozen different things every day? If yes, please share with the rest of us who’re looking.
As for me, I find myself in all categories: with the ones who self-impose classes/activities making myself voluntarily busy, thirst for more knowledge and insight and self-improvement, with those who do take the time to be with their friends/family and share special and non-special moments together, and unfortunately with those working a few jobs in order to meet ends, leaving me exhausted, dead on my feet. Wanting to keep up with everything is not what I aim for anymore. In the last few years, I’ve realized what the things that matter are and keeping up with everything coming my way is not included. And we shouldn’t feel guilty if the rest don’t understand. We alone are enough.
Go against the flow and try not to be busy for some time. Try to be available and say you’re available and feel available. Life passes by us; don’t be too busy to see it. Maybe we can make this a new trend. What do you say?