Life is too short to be busy

Life Is Too Short To Be Busy

If I were to die tomorrow, I would wish the same thing: that I spent more time with the people I love, instead of being so "busy" all the time. Wouldn't you?

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan

It's become an almost automatic response for us when asked how we're doing to say we're "busy." According to author Tim Kreider in "The 'Busy' Trap", this response is obviously "a boast disguised as a complaint." When we tell people we're busy, we expect other people to marvel at how much we have going on, and probably to think it's a "good problem," much better than the opposite.

But Kreider continues with this: "notice it isn't generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are." This is something I personally know to be true (when my mom often had to juggle multiple jobs) - what these people are, is " tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet." The difference between being "busy" and tired is that when we lament our busyness, it's almost entirely self-imposed. We are "busy because of [our] own ambition or drive or anxiety, because [we're] addicted to busyness and dread what [we] might have to face in its absence."

Krieder then goes into an anecdotal account of a friend he asked to hang out with and spend time with during the week, and the friend responded that he didn't have a lot of time, but could ditch work for a couple hours to let him know if something was going on. "I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation." Krieder recalls the days of his own childhood, when he had three hours completely unstructured and unsupervised every day. This time "provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life."

Busyness is not a condition and not just a product of our times, it is "something we've chosen." For me, choosing to be a college athlete, President and contributor to a publication, and pre-medical student with a double major was also something I chose, not a necessary condition. I chose to be busy, but I certainly felt pressure to by my peers, by society, and it's a feeling that I know so many of my friends feel, too. According to Krieder, "it's not as if any of us wants to live like's something we collectively force one another to do."

Again, I don't believe being busy is a bad thing, and even after reading this article, it's unlikely that I'll suddenly change all my life decisions and stop being busy. Sometimes, it is and can be a good thing. But this article was a punch in the gut, for calling and relating busyness as it actually is, sometimes: "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."

We want to believe everything we do, we do because we have no other choice, we do because what we do is inherently indispensable to society. But that last part isn't true - at least for me - there is no way me getting an A instead of an A- in a class serves any huge benefit to society, nor is there any reason someone else is going to lose sleep over my times in track races. This anxiety we have is "a form of institutional self-delusion." In Krieder's words, "I can't help but wonder whether this histrionic exhaustion isn't a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn't matter."

Krieder then talks about himself as someone who isn't busy, who is the "laziest ambitious person I know." His best days are those where he writes in the mornings, runs errands and goes on bike ride s in the afternoon, and sees friends in the evening. If a friend called him up and asked him to skip work and check out a new wing of a museum or have a beer in a park, "I will say, what time?"

In the months prior to the article, however, Krieder started actually being busy. "I could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon." But we can't deny how much actually being busy, like the people pulling back-to-back shifts in the ICU or the ones commuting from three jobs on buses, takes away from us. Krieder had many requests asking him 'to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve." Being busy is so undesirable and unhealthy in excess - to counterbalance it, we need idleness sometimes.

"Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets." We need our time of idleness and quiet to take a step back and reflect on life. We need our time of idleness to make and strengthen our connections, whether intended or unintended. Sitting around and being idle is "necessary to getting any work done." Any writer can tell you that most of writing is just putting thoughts you've had for a long time on paper - and when do you have the most time and room to think? Idleness.

"The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment." Krieder concedes that the world would likely go to ruin if everyone took his perspective on idleness and busyness - the ideal life "lies somewhere between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world's frenetic hustle." He stops to express gratitude at his own luck - as we all should when we can be idle - that "my own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue."

But the second half of the closing paragraph, is his zinger, what I believe to be the crown jewel of the article. A long time ago, Krieder made a "conscious choose time over money, since I've always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love." When he goes to the grave, he thinks what will go through his mind, instead of regretting everything he didn't do, is "[wishing] that I could have had one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy."

Life is too short to be busy. If I were to die tomorrow, I would wish the same thing: that I spent more time with the people I love, instead of being so "busy" all the time. Wouldn't you?

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.

When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Summer And Jobs

Working summers doesn't have to be tedious.


Like many other college students, I was ready for summer but was kinda bummed that I had to work. Its not that I didn't like where I was working, I actually was really lucky to be working in a hospital environment but I just hated being alone all summer from 9-5. I've had this job for a few years now and a few other paid interns came and went but I never really connected with any of them. This year is different though.

I got really lucky to have another intern work with me that was very similar to me. The tasks we got were always simple but they were made to be more fun because I got to do them while talking with someone else. Now I actually enjoy and look forward to going to work.

The key to finding a good job is finding one that you enjoy doing and one that will help you gain knowledge that will help you out with future career plans. Working with friends also make tasks enjoyable! I would be careful with working with your friend however because if your job needs you to be serious and focused, being around your best friends may distract you from that.

Another thing that definitely makes summer jobs more enjoyable are taking breaks! It is your summer vacation after all! I'm not saying don't take a day off just to sit around, but if you make plans with family and friends, take a Friday off and enjoy the warm weather and good company! Employers understand that us college students and on break and have lives, they are usually very lenient with days off!

If you have to do a summer job to make money to live off of or pay for college, the best thing to do is look at the big picture. If you don't enjoy your job but can't afford to quit, remember that the money if going to help you out a lot. Also, this job is probably only for the summer right? So it's not permanent my friend! Get through these annoying few weeks and you will be back at college, taking steps for a bigger and brighter future.

Summer jobs are tough, I know, but make the most of it! And don't forget to enjoy it whenever you can!!!


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