I’m starting to feel the pressure that happens during middle age to pack in as much life as possible while I can. Even though the average life span is 78 years, it just doesn’t seem like that much time.
Even on my “breaks” during the day, I’m doing something. I’m checking emails or social media, running errands, talking on the phone. I allow myself very little unstructured time, and when I do, it’s because I’ve scheduled it. I know I’m not the only one who does this.
Society isn’t any help. We are encouraged to be more productive and juggle everything in order to have the perfect homes, perfect jobs, perfect kids, perfect bodies, perfect social lives.
In Italy, from 12:30 to 3:30, you’ll be hard pressed to find a place to eat or an open shop. Everyone goes home, cooks a meal, then rests a little before going back to work. They would rather lose business than give up the tranquility of a meal at home. They feel that the long lunch enhances their quality of life, which is more important than a little extra cash in their pocket.
Do our overactive lifestyles enhance our quality of life? Are we happier, healthier, or more satisfied the more we pack in to our day?
Being busy is a habit that’s based on the fear that something horrible will happen if we don’t get everything done. Our value as a human being might decrease if we aren’t productive. We think that if we don’t get that promotion, keep the house spotless, exercise enough, or complete our ever-growing to-do lists, that success will elude us.
If success eludes us, then we will never be happy.
We are passing this habit on to our kids. Children are completely overscheduled these days, with their daytimes devoted to school, and afternoons and weekends filled with activities. They are shuffled from one thing to the next, with no unstructured time to just be kids. The result is a bunch of stressed out little people with hectic lives and no end to it in sight.
Think about how many chores or activities you’ve done today. Do you feel like you are any closer to your goal of being happy or successful? Did you enjoy doing any of them? You probably accomplished quite a few things with the idea that they would move you one step closer to your dreams, but in reality, you simply took one step closer to the grave without feeling any joy or contentment.
78 years isn’t that much time. Do you really want to spend it pursuing the elusive goal of success, or running from one place to the other without experiencing anything other than checking items off of your list?
Take a long lunch and think about it.
Barbara Buck is a Foundational Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and teacher. For more information about her, please visit her website at www.theomancollective.com. Check her out on the Happy Empaths Twitter feed @the_empath.