Oh, I hate it when they write articles about me.
It’s true, that feeling he describes, when someone asks you to do something and you can loftily say “sorry, I’m busy.” It makes you sound important. That people always have demands on your time.
The funny thing about it, is I’m trying desperately to get people to stop making demands on my time. I dropped one of my boards, stopped volunteering for something I really, really care about, quit my damn job for crying out loud. And yet, every minute of every day seems to be filled with something.
The other day, a Sunday, the handsome fella came home to find I had taken a nap. And not just a nap, but a two hour nap followed by some reading in bed. Of course, I followed that with three hours or so of cleaning up the garage and weeding in the garden, but I followed THAT with sitting on the swing in the backyard sipping a cocktail and watching fireflies. !!! He almost passed out, he was so surprised. It is such a rare thing that I take a break at all, much less a break that I’m happy about. Usually if I’m sitting in the swing with a drink I’m squirming, thinking of all the things I should be doing. Usually I can’t fall asleep to take a nap because I can’t stop making lists of the things I should be doing. But as I’ve said, I’m trying to banish “should” from my life, so I’m trying to put a stop to all that. Regardless, for that one evening I was in heaven, and the next day I was rushing around lamenting the list of things that needed doing- prepping food for the animals, freezing peas, weeding, mulching, trellising.
I’m always going to fill my hours. I was about to say, I’m not one of those people who can sit still staring into space for hours, but then I realized that’s actually a complete lie. I used to spend a lot of time sitting still staring into space for hours, and that’s when I would write, something I never do anymore (aside from here, which doesn’t really count). I miss sitting and staring into space, actually.
But I guess my point was that even though my hours are filled, with sewing or weeding or preserving food, there’s only one thing that makes me feel “busy” the way he describes in that article, as opposed to just having a lot to do. It’s something about attitude, I suppose you could say, but there is a huge difference in how I feel from when I come home from the office and realize there is a lot to do, vs. coming home from a day in the garden and realize there is a lot to do. With the former, I am stressed to the point of depression, and I’ll be angry and snap at the handsome fella and the dog and sulk and drink a lot and usually end up not accomplishing anything because of my bad mood, which has it’s basis in feeling as if I spent my day doing absolutely nothing productive, while at home a pile of dishes languished in the sink and the weeds took over another row in the garden. When I’ve been working in the garden all day, or sewing or whatever, I will very calmly take a break and then maybe do a few more small things, put laundry up, more sewing. And I go to bed happy and feeling accomplished.
It goes to something he touches on in the article- that we are keeping ourselves busy to make ourselves feel better about the fact that we’re accomplishing basically nothing. People do all this work- why? I mean, constantly updating websites? What’s the point of that? Endlessly filling up the internet with more shit? What about all the stuff that’s produced, just to be thrown away? iPhones? Seriously? Yeah, no wonder people have to find ways to make themselves feel important. We live in an entirely superficial world.
I love the conclusions he draws, because they’re the same ones I’m always spouting on about. The whole race to make money is crocked. It’s made up. It’s something people have deluded themselves into thinking is real. There is, at the end of the day, no such thing as the economy, unless people continue to believe that it exists. When we all realize how pointless it is and walk away? When “work” is not just about filling time, is not something torturous or onerous that we don’t want to do but something that we joyfully participate in because it contributes to our health and happiness (like cooking and sharing food), we won’t be fussed about whether or not we’re “busy.” At that point it’s not even work anymore. Life will just be full.
So, get on that, people. Stop deluding yourself.
“The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.”