woman holding up a phone in a crowd of people

Busyness Preoccupies Us From Actually Living Life

On average, we are living longer. However, if you were to ask me if we are really living in comparison to those who predate us, I’d have to say no. It seems that people are increasingly becoming unhappy through to the need to be productive. Just walk down the street and see how many people are glued to their phones answering calls, checking emails, and scrolling through feeds. I’m aging myself, but 20 years ago, someone would have to call home. If the person wasn’t available, the caller would have to wait for the person to return their call. Now the expectation is to be available 24/7. I’m sure many people see this as a necessity, but I’m here to tell you that this means of productivity is a choice that we make. As far as I can see, busyness is the biggest distraction to actually living life.

We are born, we go to school and then we work. Once we hit the age where we are preparing to leave Earth, we feel like we’ve lived a short life. In reality, we just wasted it by only showing up to what we perceive as our obligations. We have desires and achievements. Yet, with every goal met, our fulfilment remains empty until we go on to the next goal and the next goal until we die. That’s our life.

A Scarce Resource

If capitalism emphasizes the need to efficiently use scarce resources, why isn’t time emphasized? Time is the resource all of us don’t have an infinite amount of, at least while we abide on this planet. I think we need to be more stingy with our time just as if we are looking to find the best deal on something that we don’t need. I’m aware that I have to work, but I’ve since realized that not all work is for my good and I try to detach from the tasks and the meetings that don’t enhance my wellbeing, or the wellbeing of others. What if valuing our time was a form of self-care. It’s a resource that we can only give, but never get back. It’s our greatest form of charity.

I get it. I’ve heard people say that they don’t want to be bored. They have to keep active. They have to keep busy. My question is why? Why is it so bad to be bored? To me, it feels like we’re using busyness as a way to escape something. Is what we are doing actually productive? It seems like the things that mean nothing distract us from finding meaning and we like it this way. it’s very hard to find purpose in life when we are too busy checking off boxes. In doing what we think we should do, we never learn what we want. We never learn how to live in our truest self.

In this way, we hide from ourselves. Do you truly know who you are? I mean outside of your title. Why is it that when we meet someone, our first question is, “What do you?” It’s because if we were asked, “Who are you?”, we wouldn’t have an answer.

A Problem for Future Me

It’s quite ironic how we are so attached to a life we don’t live. I think this may be the biggest detriment and the reason for our busyness. As humans, we are so concerned with the future that we don’t care to live in the moment. We care about getting that new promotion, so we work hard today for something that’s not guaranteed to us tomorrow. We buy things in luxury and become slaves to those objects because we have to either maintain them or maintain the income level to afford them. Homeowners know what I’m talking about.

Death can be a good motivator here. What if we truly lived every day as if it were our last? The future no longer exists. All you have is now. How would you change? I know I would. If I had no concern for tomorrow, I wouldn’t do the things I didn’t find valuable even if it comes with consequence. If I make it tomorrow, I can deal with those consequences then. This outlook is kind of scary though, so we work towards building a false sense of security to make us feel a bit more comfortable. As a consequence, we work to merely exist.

Who Are You Living For?

It becomes much worse when our busyness is for the benefit of a made up entity like a company. Business, in general, is a pyramid scheme in which those at the bottom feel like they have to work hard to get to the top. Like we’ve mentioned, the top is not guaranteed. There are many stories where people have to put their blood, sweat, and tears into a company for 20+ years to only be laid off. All the work that went into the company benefited someone else. The person laid off is forced to detach and find another identity. It’s almost like they spent more than 20 years doing nothing. If that hurt, I’m sorry, but it’s also time for a change. Doing the same thing again would be insanity.