I will never forget the night I was out for cocktails with a group of close girlfriends when suddenly we found ourselves embroiled in a “busy”-off:
“I am trying to manage a full-time job, my 2 kids are in rep hockey and my husband is travelling for work.”
“Oh yah – well I’m starting my own business, I’ve got a 3 active children, I’m nursing a baby and I have volunteer commitments.”
“That’s nothing – I’ve been travelling all over the country for my career, I’m still organizing my kids schedules and I’m taking a course online!”
We were actually trying to one-up each other as to who was the most frazzled and run ragged. And as crazy as it sounds, I’d be willing to bet that you have had similar conversations with your friends and loved ones – it seems we often connect with each other by comparing war stories about our busy lives.
I’m just as guilty of this as the next person- this compulsive desire to wear our busy-ness as a flashing neon sign. It’s almost as if pushing ourselves to the point of complete overwhelm is somehow the gold standard – an ideal to proud of and bragged about. And the person who might actually have some (gulp) “free” time is often teased for their lack of get-up-and-go “what the heck do you do all day?” “How on earth do you ever find the time to write (or draw or go for a long walk or put your feet up with a good book?)” And have you ever noticed that the most common answer you get when you ask how someone is doing is “Busy!”
And what about down time? Can we really relax and enjoy the present moment? All too often when I am attempting to unwind by playing with my family, sipping a glass of wine with a girlfriend or treating myself to a pedicure- my mind will simultaneously be spinning with things I’ve got to get done afterwards.
I recently had the opportunity to enjoy some lovely and truly relaxing down time at St. Anne’s Spa and I happened upon a fascinating article while I was lounging around in my robe that really struck a chord. Brigid Schulte gave an interview in the Globe & Mail newspaper about her new book called “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has Time“. It’s a wonderfully thought-provoking interview and a must-read.
When it comes to the issue of leisure, Schulte says:
What is it about having open space on the calendar? It’s the one thing we say we want, but what’s become so clear in North America is that we are not only work-focused, we are work-devoted.
In the ’30, ’40s and ’50s, philosophers, economists and some of the greatest thinkers of the age described an era not far off when everybody would have so much leisure time: We’d only work 30 hours a week, four days a week, maybe half the year. Some were worried about that – what would we do to fill the time? Others believed it would be the next great advancement in human civilization: the things we could invent, the art we could create, the time we could spend with other people making relationships richer and life better.
Well what happened then? Why is it that we value work so much? If we don’t value leisure, or if we treat leisure as a time to ‘rest up’ so we’re better at our work, we’ve really lost the point of living.
So in the spirit of being a bit less busy and a bit more leisurely, why don’t you pour yourself a hot cup of tea, put your feet up and take 10 minutes to read this brilliant article about the importance of leisure. It just might make you think differently about the importance of freeing up some time on your schedule.
Follow this link to read the article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/too-busy-to-live-in-a-contemporary-world/article17758066/?page=all