I've just read an essay, The Busy Trap by Tim Kreider, published in the NYT some weeks ago.
You've probably already seen it via Facebook or Twitter, if you haven't been too busy to read it... According to Kreider,
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.Today I am having a rare day off, I say rare as now that I work in a school, my time off coincides with Elf's. He has been shipped off to daycamp today, along with 3 of his besties, so he can have a day of fun while I
I have friends who pack too much in, whether that's to hide what might be missing were they not in demand, or just out of maternal guilt - "We have to do things for the kids". One friend had PND and one major remedy was to only plan one thing a day. Anything else is a bonus. That's what I've done these holidays, a plan to meet up with a friend, then see how the day goes. Yesterday a picnic lasted 4 hours, and we found time for a quick swim at the beach.
Another friend made herself ill after taking on too much voluntary and community projects after quitting work because she was ill from doing too much. I know people who say "Let's meet up" but can't book you in for weeks. Do they do that to everyone? When do they start asking? A month in advance? Can't they sit down for a moment? Do they need to publish a list on Facebook of their achievements of the day? Are we impressed? Should we be?
What do we have against idleness? My day will be lazy, I might go to town later or I might not. I might leave the house, I might not. Why should I feel guilty? I do slightly though, as if my day has had no purpose. I hope Mr Humdrum doesn't come home asking if I've done any washing! I've already had some people saying "Me time, I'd kill for that". Well, do it! Kreider calls it a boast masquerading as a complaint. Hear instead "I can't possibly have any me time, that would entail asking someone else for help, or showing that I need some down time, maybe people will think I can't cope. Or they'll think that I'm not important." Bollocks.
Laziness and idleness should be redefined as quiet time or just down time. I'm not going to catch up on housework, I might just flick a wipe round the bathroom. The sun is coming out now, why don't I take my book to the beach with a thermos of tea? Sod it, that's what I'll do. Bye then!