02 September 2014

Busy is the New Rich

With the start of a new month, I've heard a few people making the comment, 'Where has the year gone?' With our third house move this year looming, I know where our eight months has gone!

It's been a busy year as we've sold, rented, bought and renovated. Added to which there is family, work, writing and that little thing called 'having a life'. The list is in no particular order, although 'having a life' got tagged on the end almost as an after-thought, as it's been for a while!

I hear you either tutting, or taking a big breath to tell me how much busier you've been. But wait a minute....

That second paragraph, while entirely true, was written a little tongue-in-cheek. I listen to people at work, friends, acquaintances and passers-by talking, and everyone is BUSY. Not just busy, but BUSY!!

We seem proud of the amount of hours we have to work and our lack of spare time. It's almost a badge of honour. A way of showing how important we are. No longer are we talking about the new car/sound system/television we have, but rather our lack of time to use these items. Even children aren't immune. They seem to spend their lives being ferried around to after-school classes/clubs/social events with weekends full of teams and sports.

I'm not sure if it's worse than it used to be, or if being on-call 24/7 with email, smartphones and gadgets makes it feel that way. If I could bottle something that solved our time deprived lives, and sell it, I know I'd make a fortune. 

There isn't really a one-size fits all solution. We have to find the answer ourselves. I think it begins with realising the effects this state of busyness has on us, keeping us in a state of near panic. If we're constantly running on adrenalin, we're not doing our physical and mental-selves any favours, and our decision-making capabilities are degraded.

Unfortunately, most of us aren't in a position to change everything in our lives. At the very least, I think we should stop for a few minutes at least once a day, and clear our minds of all those chattering thoughts that want to grab our attention. We should use the time to notice where we are and the things around us, and how we actually feel physically. In other words, to be exactly in that moment, rather than still continuing an argument we had earlier with someone, or still being angry with the driver who cut into the queue, or the other thousands of mostly inconsequential things that drag us away from enjoying NOW.

W.H. Davies wrote this poem in the early 1900s.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad day light,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Someone once said they doubted anyone would ask for the words, 'Wish I'd spent more time at the office,' on their tombstone.
It's a beautiful world out there. Appreciate it.

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