This is a short post and smallish article, but I think the article is quite important because it questions our basic assumption about being busy. Is being incredibly busy really a good thing? Are we trying to mask the discomfort and/or anxiety just by being so busy such that we don’t really have any time to think about deeper existential questions? I am trying to see this in the perspective of the post I added here yesterday, Ellen wanted time off from her work to actually figure out what she really wanted to do in life. In this article, the essayist & cartoonist Tim Kreider presents a reasonably valid argument against the “busy” life. This statement just sums it up beautifully –
“Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.”
Here are some excerpts –
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’être was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion.
and this is how he finishes it, citing his own example –
My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.
And if you’re really intrigued, you may also want to read this – To Work Better, Work Less by Cody C. Delistraty and I quit working full-time years ago—here’s why I recommend it highly by Mohit Satyanand. And you want to read more, here is yet another interesting article –Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek) by David Cain. Obviously, if one enjoys his/her work immensely and experiences flow while working, the time spent on it doesn’t really matter. However, it helps to ponder about being busy and ask – ‘What’s really keeping me busy?’