Happiness and business…and idleness

Happiness and business…and idleness

Are you too busy to be happy? 

Does your busy-ness interfere with your happiness? 

Does quiet time scare and upset you? 

If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions then you should read this article…

by Jean Hannah Edelstein for Daily Life (HERE)

In my first draft of this piece, I wrote something quite earnest about how I have started to book idle time into my diary. I wrote it as if doing so is not a completely preposterous thing. It’s not, perhaps, if you measure preposterousness by the way that other people live. I know that it’s not an uncommon practice. But on reflection (and second draft), I realised that it is ridiculous indeed; a sign that I’m adhering to the kind of preposterous lifestyle that Tim Kreider skewered in his recent New York Times essay, ‘The Busy Trap’. Kreider clearly struck a chord: I saw the piece come up over and over again last week in my Twitter feed last week, linked to, with remarks of approval and longing, by people so busy that 140 characters feels like a legitimate, rather than preposterous, communication strategy.

Why have I become a preposterous kind of person who, like so many others, schedules idle time? If the busyness that Kreider writes of is, as he claims, a 21-century phenomenon, than I am an early adopter. I learned to boast of busyness as a teenager; I remember competing with classmates during a break in a chemistry lesson in something like an exhaustion-off, each of us describing in slightly shrill tones how little sleep we’d gotten the night before, thanks to our hectic schedules of homework and sports teams and school newspaper editing. I remember feeling a little resentful towards my parents and their insistence that I be in bed by 11 o’clock, despite it meaning that I might spend as many as six or seven hours not doing anything important.

Kreider writes of busyness as ‘as a kind of existential reassurance; a hedge against emptiness’. And no doubt that is a large part of what keeps me maintaining the kind of lifestyle that motivates me to sometimes write ‘DO NOTHING’ in my diary in larger, more important letters than I use to note writing deadlines and appointments with friends. For while I am a fan of my own company I am, perhaps, less of a fan of the feeling I get when someone asks me what I did at the weekend and I can’t make an interesting report.

My aversion to idleness has swelled since the end of an unsatisfying relationship seven months ago…

…keep reading HERE for the full and original article

And then have your say HERE on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page. Do you think we could all benefit from more "idle time"?