This is a great article. I love the first paragraph, he hits it straight on!
If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”
Of course, I actually do think I’m crazy busy. But this article reminds me that, to a large degree, my busyness is self-imposed. If I took only what really and truly needed to be done each day, I’d have tons of free time. Unfortunately, it is ingrained in our culture (or at least in “mom culture”) that busyness means fulfillment and accomplishment, so I suspect I’d feel some degree of dissatisfaction and unease if I embraced a less-busy lifestyle. Kreider addresses this phenomenon with a poignant observation:
It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.
But this comment just made me laugh out loud. I’ve been on both ends of this type of exchange:
I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation.
And this one may be my new email signature (if I had an email signature):
It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.
So in all your free time, go read this article!