Life is a constant pursuit of busy-ness. Notice how many people spend their days. You’ll almost always feel guilty that you have nothing on your to-do list for the day other than wake up and go do whatever you feel like doing.
Busy is good. If you know how to draw the line. The ability to say no is a good prerequisite to maintaining a sense of balance. You need to say no sometimes and mean it. Because if you don’t, you may well be looking at the years gone with nothing except a bloated bank account, amazing dream house, and a huge garage filled with cars for every day of the week. Not a bad deal, really, if you somehow also managed to accomplish all the things you’ve put on your bucket list.
A bucket list may sound like a cliche, but it serves its purpose. It reminds you of your humanity. That before you started dreaming of houses, picket fences, cars, and the peak of your career ladder of choice; your happiness hinges on things like rainbows, unicorns, and everything in between. Back when imagination ruled over practicality, busy was about paying attention to secret desires and dreams.
The sad thing about being busy nowadays is that you have something to show for it at every single end of the day. Like you’ve done nothing if you don’t have a list of things ticked off. If you’re unlucky to be around people who live and breathe busy, you’ll feel vulnerable each time you attempt to bring a semblance of balance in your life. Once you’re in the pack, you better act like the pack or suffer for daring to be different.
Imagine working an average of sixteen hours a day for a month with no off days to speak of. And that’s on top of the long work hours you regularly put up with. Everyone lucky enough to land a well-paying job needs to put the effort, they say. You have to do everything to succeed, they say.
People around you say things to make you feel lousy for wanting more than live and breathe work. You give, your job takes. You give more, it takes even more. Until the cycle leaves you dizzy. Then slowly you begin thinking there must be more to life than the seemingly endless cycle of attempts to kill yourself. Because like it or not, you’re killing yourself slowly by living that kind of busy. You imagine bees may turn out to have a longer life expectancy than you if you carry on.
The good thing about being human is you have so much inside you working for you (or against you depending on the circumstances). You have a brain to rationalize, a heart that nudges you towards the direction of buried desires and dreams, lungs that help you breathe, arms and legs to help you to do things you need to do. With all these ultimately on your side, you eventually find the courage to say no.
Saying no to success when it requires losing yourself along the way is not stupidity. Maybe, just maybe, you’ve allowed others to define your success. Everyone should have a gauge of what the word means to them. To allow yourself to evolve into a popularly acceptable version of you is to abandon your own path. In the vastness of life’s universe, you may lose the one and only thing that truly belongs to you. A path that no other feet could walk so perfectly.
Sometimes it’s alright to stop even in the middle of all the craziness you put up with. Stop then step back to give yourself space to find the balance between busy and killing time. You’ve lived busy so maybe killing time would help you find what you seek.
Killing time is all about you and your choices. At any given day, you’re given seconds, minutes, and hours to use. How you use it without the pressure of busy hovering over you may provide some life-defining moments. If not, you can always use the time to get all the rest you need. Whoever lived busy would certainly need one.
So wake up early to look at a breathtaking sunrise, take long walks under the morning sun, savor a delicious breakfast, and do whatever you wish to do. It may seem like nothing but to truly living, it’s everything. Go kill time. Like a boss.