Why is it that so many of us seem to lead busy, hectic lives these days; is it because we genuinely enjoy rushing around from A to B with barely time to stop and think, or do we feel pressured in some way to keep ourselves busy, as if a life with a less hectic pace is not as worthwhile or something to be ashamed of?
My current circumstances mean that I am in no way busy, and that suits me just fine. I do keep myself occupied and never will I sit around mindlessly twiddling my thumbs or searching for something to fill my time, but I enjoy being able to do the things I love, at my own pace. Those of you with children, pets and various other distractions will doubtless be shouting at the screen in frustration as you’re reading this (if you’ve managed to find a spare five minutes, that is!), perhaps envious of my relaxed lifestyle or thinking that I don’t understand what it’s like to have commitments that keep me busy and that I am unsympathetic to those of you do. But I believe that generally speaking, our lives are as busy as we choose to make them, after all, if you choose to have children you are presumably accepting the fact that you will be kept busy, and throwing pets and after school activities into the equation guarantees that you will be kept on your toes. I may not be an advocate of the busy life, but it clearly suits many of you, and why would it bother me? Well the answer is that it doesn’t — until you start complaining about it, that is.
I once made the mistake of asking a friend if she had seen a particular television documentary the night before, and when she sighed heavily before answering, I knew I was going to regret having asked her. She had apparently been far too busy to have been afforded the luxury of sitting down for thirty minutes to watch the television, yet there she was, happily taking fifteen minutes out of her exceptionally hectic schedule to tell me why she had been too busy! I was then left feeling unnecessarily guilty about having been able to indulge myself for a whole thirty minutes of my evening. In spite of her saying that she wished she had more time to watch the television, though, I knew full well that for somebody like her, being constantly busy was her way of coping with the stresses and strains of daily life and that she was in no way envious of my quieter life. I think some people hide behind a busy life as they’re too scared to face the thoughts, feelings and worries that might occur should they have more time available to think about things. I also believe that many people think a busy life means a happy and fulfilled life, when of course happiness is about doing the things we love, irrespective of how long they take us or what other people think. Of course I haven’t always had so much time on my hands, and I can remember all too clearly how it felt to work full-time and juggle other responsibilities too, but as the thought of being too busy to read a chapter of a book or phone a friend for a chat brings me out in a cold sweat, I have always been determined to achieve an even work-life balance.
When having lunch with my husband and a colleague of his one day, upon discovering that I didn’t go out to work, he was curious to know how I filled my time. When I replied that I find plenty to do and am never bored, a look of incredulity flashed across his face before he realised that I might take offence and swapped it in a less than discreet manner for a look of what he probably thought was polite interest. It wasn’t, it was still a look of incredulity but tinged with boredom, and when he asked me if I didn’t find my days to be too long, I rather wished I’d stayed at home and carried on with my dull and worthless life. Instead I smiled politely at him and answered that no, I didn’t find my days to be too long.
I know what he was getting at–for some people, being in the company of a dog for roughly eight hours of every day might be a touch boring and they may end up counting down the hours until a distraction arrives in the form of a partner or until they could finish their endless day and go to bed. But unless you are suffering from a debilitating illness, or are in some way wishing you were no longer on this planet, why would you want your days to be any shorter? Okay so when we are at work we might find ourselves counting down the hours until we can clock off, or if we are going somewhere really exciting the next day, we might think tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough, but I love the fact that I have plenty of time to focus on the things that matter to me, and I am proud to say that rarely am I ever busy. Occupied and content, yes, but busy, not really, in fact definitely not, no.