Is your life “crazy busy?” Of course if you are working full time and your kids are young, it’s understandable. But what if you’re not working full time? Or your kids are grown? Or almost grown? Or you are unemployed or retired?
These days, the overextended life is the norm for many. People who gab about their bustling, buzzing, on-the-go life are rarely ashamed of it; indeed, there is a bit of boasting (despite the occasional sigh) about how insanely busy they are.
Is being so busy a secret code to reassure yourself (and others) that you must be doing something right? Is it the exact opposite of the 50’s housewife who was going nuts with frustration and boredom because she didn’t have enough stimulating activity?
Is the new normal all-American family one in which mom, dad, kids (toddlers to teens) and grandparents are all dancing as fast as they can? And taking psychotropic meds to help them do so?
It’s time to consider the cost of this crazy busy lifestyle. Being busy on occasion is not particularly costly. You rev up your energy to take care of what needs to be taken care of and then you relax. But running on all cylinders all the time? Well, I think this is an appropriate time for an ominous drum roll.
Why? Because being busy all the time means giving up what we used to hold dear. A few examples:
Free time to do nothing but relax.
Free time to be with your favorite people without having to do anything.
Free time to let your mind wander.
Free time to take a nap.
Free time to get a good night’s sleep.
Free time to ponder your thoughts.
Free time to feel your feelings.
Free time to daydream.
Free time to unwind.
Free time to listen to uninterrupted music.
Crazy busy people have given up the above. Free time is a luxury they have no time for. And they don’t encourage it in their children (Stop daydreaming. Start moving. We gotta leave soon.)
At first blush, it may seem like, so what? Isn’t it more interesting to be involved in an abundance of activities rather than doing those passive things listed above? Isn’t it incredible that your digital device can instantly relieve you of a moment of boredom?
Yes, but haven’t you noticed how this crazy busy lifestyle is taking its toll? Are you aware of how exhausted (not exhilarated) you feel at day’s end?
People often speak about feeling increasingly anxious, agitated and apprehensive. And instead of taking the time to figure out what’s bothering them or how they might alter their activity, they now pop a pill -or two or three or four- to keep their lifestyle going.
May I suggest that if you are living a “crazy busy” lifestyle, you re-read the list above that delineates the many things you have given up. Then ask yourself – is it worth it?
“Crazy busy is a great armor, a great way for numbing.
We stay so busy that the truth of how we’re feeling
and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”
Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist and success coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior.