I read an article a while ago, The “Busy” Trap by Tim Kreider from The New York Times. The premise is about how we often make ourselves too busy to enjoy life and live. We over-commit to the point where we have to pencil in an appointment to meet with good friends; to a point where we feel almost lost and riddled with guilt if we don’t have our calendars fully booked with work and personal commitments.
Recently, my little sister asked me what organizations and extracurricular activities I joined when I was still attending University. I started enumerating them–a professional organization, a socio-civic group, a theatre guild and so on. To be honest, itemizing my activities made me feel accomplished…and self-important. It was as if I had to prove that I was always busy. Like how I used to alway be focused on my laptop or busy with my phone; how I was constantly running off from one activity to another; how I never gave myself time to think about what I was actually rushing for or chasing after.
These days though, I spend hours doing things I love. I read, I make things, I take pictures, I write. These days, I spend hours idly daydreaming. I spend time watching the sun rise; watching the colour of the sky change as the sun sets. These days, I have time to wonder about things that seem inane.
Quoting Mr. Kreider, “I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know” and I feel that I had accomplished more now that I have slowed my pace. I have been more successful at paving the path toward my career and life goals now, as opposed to being too busy chasing after what I thought I want to make time to think about what I really wanted. That being said, sometimes a lingering feeling of guilt still creeps in. Once in a while, imagined critics naggingly ask, Why are you taking things so easily? Don’t you want to get anywhere?
But really, why should I feel guilty about choosing to have time to look up the sky? Why should we feel bad about choosing a career path or lifestyle that makes us happy, rather than stressed? Isn’t it a success in it self to be working on projects that I am passionate about and still have a lot of time on my hands? Isn’t it success in itself, to not have to wait for retirement to enjoy my life?