There is a lot of emphases these days on doing more. We've conditioned ourselves to always keep busy. Many of us wear "Busy" like a badge of honour. And in a sense we define ourselves by how busy we are, how much work we take on, and how much we cram into our day.
But in all our running around we seem to have forgotten about enjoyment. About how to relax and simply be.
Are we avoiding boredom? Are we too scared to sit quietly in our own company? Scared to be seen as a failure if our lives aren't full of activity and a long 'to do' list?
In my last post, I talked about routine. And how many of us thrive with some kind of structure to our days. So it might seem like I'm contradicting myself here. But hear me out.
Having structure and routine can be beneficial and help us feel mentally in control. But it's important to understand that our routine needn't be complicated, or overly busy. Routines can be simple. The aim is to structure our days fairly consistently, but with air to breath and room to move, so to speak. It's a loose guide to follow to eliminate angst over having no structure of any kind.
So I think it's about having enough in our day to feel stable. But allowing time in our day to unwind, enjoy and have a little fun.
I worked at a job once where the work computer screensaver said "A busy life is a happy life". I often think about that. And I beg to differ. I think the more apt thing to say is "A fruitful life is a happy life."
A fruitful life is one of balance. Like a tree needs the right balance of water, sunlight and good soil to thrive, we need a balance of the various areas of our life. If we place all our energy into work and keeping busy for much of our time, then we throw ourselves off balance. And possibly become resentful of the world around us.
There is a line that we can cross which enters into the territory of doing too much. Of always trying to do more. Feeling the need to be 'on' at all times. Of pushing ourselves to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. And that there is risky. That is when I feel we enter the space where we fear being bored. Of being alone in our own company. Where we define ourselves by our hard work. And outside of work we have no sense of identity.
I also think that it can take a toll on our bodies physically if we are always in a state of being busy.
Our body is strong, but it can only handle so much for so long. I doubt in our later years that we will feel good about always pushing ourselves in those younger years. I think at that point we will appreciate that we valued our health and wellbeing. The time we gave to nurturing ourselves. And the quality time with our loved ones.
So my thoughts are that "busy" is overrated. That there is beauty in simplifying our life so we have time for those things that matter. Where we can feel a sense of peace and ease.
Stay in on Friday night and read a book you love. Spend a Saturday afternoon on the floor playing board games with the kids. Sit by the water and take in the sunshine for the length of your lunch break. Take an afternoon nap and leave the washing until later. Leave work at work and go home and enjoy dinner with friends or family.
Life is to be enjoyed. You can choose to switch off for a while. Learn to embrace the slow. To relish those moments of quiet. And of just sitting and appreciating what you have in front of you right now.