Everyone is busy. That is a plain and simple truth. I don’t know one person that doesn’t consider them-self busy.The plight of being busy now begins in childhood. Even the youngest of children participate in multiple extra-curricula. By high school, students barely have time to eat dinner with their families, and most are too busy with one activity or another to even consider taking on a part-time job. *As an aside, I worry that many teenagers are missing an important opportunity to develop soft skills and to better prepare themselves to enter the workforce.* Those of us already in the workforce face a constant barrage of emails and meeting invitations. But, no matter your age or employment status, each of us is living life, and life has a way of being busy.
We are a society of multi-tasking, over-committers. And what’s even worse, it seems that many people seem to glorify being busy. I think we all know someone who attach some self-importance to being busy. They are the individuals who will spend an entire conversation meticulously telling you either everything they have to do or everything they have just accomplished. Precious moments that could be spent exchanging ideas are wasted on recitations of to-do lists.
I will admit with some embarrassment that there are times that I have been that person talking about my schedule. I don’t feel that being busy elevates me either personally or professionally. In fact on some days, I really begrudge being busy. But, I remember a time shortly after I started working that I would have given anything to have a way to fill my evenings. So on most days, I am grateful to have what I consider a full life, but a full life doesn’t necessarily have to mean a busy life.
A quote that is often attributed to Socrates reads, “beware the bareness of a busy life.” Now, I am unsure of whether Socrates ever said that, but since it is on the internet, I assume it must be true… Regardless of the statement’s origin, it puts forth a sentiment that I entirely subscribe to. A person whose days are full might have a very empty life.
I was especially struck by the distinction between a busy and a full life a few weeks ago while visiting a dear relative who has been a member of a monastery for more than 60 years. The members of this community do not have “busy” lives by modern standards yet their hearts and days seem very full.
Maybe your busyness is fulfilling and life giving, but maybe it isn’t. At the end of the day, I think that as a society we should stop the glorification of “busy.”
That’s All She Wrote