I have begun to observe the current obsession with being busy as endemic in our society, and let me tell you, it is a huge pet peeve of mine. Saying “I am so busy” has become the new “fine” when asked how you are doing. At this point, it seems like we should just save ourselves the time of bewailing over how swapped we are and simply wear a bright, flashy badge stating, “Hey, I am better than you because I am going to accomplish so many things today.”
Do not get me wrong though, I am far from immune to this laborious lifestyle. If I am completely honest, this pandemic is the one driving force that has caused me to slow down for what appears to be years. Constantly exerting myself to endless rigorous classes, clubs, jobs, sports, and social commitments in high school caused me to think that I was incredibly accomplished and in control of my own life. Was I mentally and physically suffering from this non-stop plague of activity? Yes. Was I going to pause and let myself relax? No. Taking a break meant letting my mind have time to think about the important things and bring upon sadness. Something that I let go on for too long.
Though most people view the opposite of busyness as laziness, being constantly busy may be a form of mental or spiritual apathy, a refusal to take up genuine and meaningful work; and so, in this sense, it can be lazy. Being busy allows us to fill our lives with mundane tasks that take up so much time that we begin to feel satisfied, like we are accomplishing great amounts of work.
I mean look at this amazing world we live in! We are so consumed in moving from one task to another that we fail to stop and notice the beauty of it all. We learn to defend ourselves from the rainstorms with umbrellas and canopies, failing to see the streets that shine beautifully, that we ourselves are walking on stars and water. We have stopped taking notice of the butterfly, the small child, the smiling faces. By pushing the fast-forward button on life and doing as many tasks as possible, we take for granted the small occurrences that comprise our lives and make them worthwhile.
Now I know that there are tasks in life that are unavoidable, things such as paying taxes and doing laundry, but in my mind, it is okay to have lots of things to do as long as you have the right mindset. Filling up your days with endless tasks just to feel productive and satisfied is going to get you nowhere. I am beginning to realize that remaining in the present moment and taking time to experience the “now” is the only way to take charge of my own life. Busyness is going to be something that affects my life forever (especially in today’s society that has programmed us to be over-achievers). However, I hope to continue to try and take notice of how I chose to spend my time— to live a life that is fulfilled.