Wednesday, December 28, 2005

OPINION: On Being Busy and Being Happy

When someone who is single gets busy there is never someone there with firsthand knowledge of their life to help keep that person in check.

In our lives, we are all at different stages of being busy. When we are young and we move from one phase of our lives into the next, we step into a new stage of being busy. At first we say "I've never been so busy before", then we grow used to being that busy, and wonder what we did with our spare time before. Then when holidays come or we have spare time, we don't sit and relax like we used to, we find new and creative ways to be busy during our holidays, like repair work around the house, writing letters to people, writing in our journal or we create projects for ourselves.

When we are busy, we get so caught up in what keeps us busy that we start to neglect other things. At first it is okay, we neglect 'expendable' things, like spare time. Then we see just how much time we're wasting in a day, and decide to take more hours at work, take an extra class at school or whatever. For some reason we think that "only if I could make more money" or "only if I could take one more class" would I be happier.

Then we lose more of our spare time, and the only non-busy time we have is spent being busy for ourselves, like going grocery shopping, doing laundry, and eating. Life becomes stressful and not very much fun. Then you hit the point of terminal busy-ness, when you don't have time to do things for yourself anymore, laundry and eating become burdens. At this point you have officially sold your soul to your work or school or whatever is keeping you busy.

The biggest problem with being busy is that you neglect others. You no longer have free time to visit a friend in need. You rush around in traffic cutting people off, forgetting that others are more important than you. You don't have time to bring someone soup who is sick, or write a letter to someone dealing with pain. You don't have time to put others before yourself.

You also stop giving yourself time to develop your potential in areas with no immediate redeeming value. You stop excercising, playing instruments or doing other hobbies. You stop having fun, and at some point you stopped being happy.

While having too much time on your hands can be bad too, I struggle most with being too busy. I think it is hard to find a balance between myself, others, work, and school, spare time and play. I am young and I need to play more, but I've tried to grow up so fast that I maybe have forgotten how to play. Instead of being the random nut I used to be now I come across as busy, boring and often selfish.

My real goal along with everyone else is to be happier. I take more hours at work, or take that extra class because I think it will make me happier. I get caught in the "I can't wait until .... only then will I be happy" syndrome. I know I can be happy now if I just put others before myself.

Final thought: Is it selfish to put others before yourself for your own happiness?

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